Odisha CMO orders inquiry into sal seed purchase ‘scam’ 

MLA claims irregularities of around Rs 6.5 crore done in procurement

Published: 20th July 2023 11:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th July 2023 11:55 AM   |  A+A-

Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

By Express News Service

ROURKELA: The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has ordered an inquiry into the allegations of irregularities in the procurement of sal seeds by the Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation (TDCC) Ltd in Sundargarh district.

On June 28, Talsara MLA and BJP’s Sundargarh organisational president Bhawani Shankar Bhoi had written to the district collector and the CMO alleging involvement of an influential political person in the scam who reportedly gave undue preference to a few selected self-help groups (SHGs) in the procurement. He also blamed the nexus of some SHGs and middlemen for the irregularities. 

After being instructed by the CMO, the Forest department on July 14 asked the ST/SC Development and Panchayati Raj departments to probe into the allegations and take appropriate action. 

Talking to this paper, Bhoi alleged that during the procurement of sal seeds from June first week to July first week, irregularities of around Rs 6.5 crore were committed by paying the tribal primary collectors much less than the MSP of Rs 20. Without naming anyone, he blamed the patronage of a political person for the scam. 

“A few selected SHGs were allowed to procure most of the sal seeds. The SHGs and other procurement entities illegally tied to middlemen procured seeds at Rs 10-Rs 12 per kg from primary collectors and sold those to TDCC at full MSP,” alleged the MLA.

Sal seed is procured under a central scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs with the TDCC being the nodal agency. Amid bumper crop this year, a total of around 80,000 quintals were procured from 11 blocks of Sundargarh.

TDCC district manager Laxmidhar Pal said 133 SHGs, 110 Van Suraksha Samitis (VSSs), 114 Van Dhan Vikash Kendras (VDVKs) and two tribal entrepreneurs participated in the procurement. The SHGs, VSSs and VDVKs were recommended by their respective block development officers, divisional forest officers and three Integrated Tribal Development Agencies in Sundargarh, Pal said and added that he cannot comment on the allegations of the Talsara MLA. 

Several primary collectors including Manoj Xess, Basumati Kisan and Bisra Lakra said they were unaware of the MSP for sal seed. “We sold our stock for Rs 10-Rs 12 per kg after being told that the market price was less than Rs 12,” they claimed.

Follow The New Indian Express channel on WhatsApp


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp