Agri, Horti & Veterinary Dept under fire for management issues

Shillong, July 3: The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Charles Pyngrope informed that the Auditor and Controller General Office of India is not pleased with the fund utilisation and functioning of the Department of Agriculture & Horticulture and Veterinary. 

The PAC held a meeting today to discuss the fiscal management of both the departments.

Pyngrope said that the departments need to have clear cut policies to train, educate and equip farmers and entrepreneurs in the field.

Regarding their fiscal management, he said that they were informed that the departments’ management was poor. “In the end of the financial year, they were repatriating funds back to the government which means they didn’t have a proper chart or course to ensure that funds given to them were dispersed immediately to the farmers,” he said. 

He added that in the last two years, there has been a steady decline in output of agricultural produces. 

Adding to the same, Congress MLA from Mawsynram, HM Shangpliang said that the 13th finance commission approved an amount of Rs 38 crores for the state which was sanctioned in 2007. Of this, the state received Rs 19 crore.

However the expenditure incurred by the Horticulture Department was only 7.36 crores. 

The central government didn’t sanction the rest 19 crores because the department failed to supply their utilisation certificate in time, he informed.

He said that the Agriculture and Horticulture Department has several lapses in their functioning. This includes missing projects such as abandoned fishery and harvesting ponds in East Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills among others.

He stated that the Department of Agriculture has also been asked to conduct a study and submit a regard regarding the sharp decline in Maize production in Ri Bhoi District, West Garo Hills and East Garo Hills.

The MLA added that the committee will also be inspecting the regulated market in Mawiong since they have received complaints from farmers alleging that they are not being able to sell their produce.