Spl. Report ARKALGUD JAYAKUMAR
Arakalagud, Jun 11: Agricultural activities have picked up in the state following the advancement of South West Monsoons, fake seeds have been unearthed, farmers are distressed over distribution of fake fertilizers, but officials including Secretary and Commissioner of the State Agricultural Department are making merry on a China tour …!This was how AT Ramaswamy, former legislator who rose to fame as the President of the Joint House Committee on Illegal Land Encroachment, expressed his anguish over the Department of Agriculture at a press meet here on June11, Friday.Strongly criticizing the Agricultural Department officials for going on a study tour to China when they ought to be in the headquarters at this crucial juncture and oversee the present situation, he questioned the government sharply saying "How come the government permitted this tour? Isn’t the government interested in protecting the interests of farmers?"Stating that Muniappa, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Mudabi Commissioner and other departmental officials were on a China tour from May 30 to June 14, he questioned if this was the time to go on a tour.As monsoons are likely to be good this year, the department needs to gear up for the situation by supplying good quality seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural implements to the farmers, Ramaswamy said adding already thousands of tonnes of fake fertilizers have been found to be distributed to tobacco growers in the state.The fertilizer problem has also cropped up in several places, while fake seeds have been unearthed in Bellary and other places; he said adding it has also been found that seeds are being sold at higher prices fearlessly. "To note that the department heads are on a foreign tour in such a situation is nothing but unfortunate," he commented.
While it is well known that the Karnataka State Seed Corporation was a sinking ship, the officials went on a foreign tour after producing accounts to prove that the corporation had earned a profit of Rs 84 lakhs, he further alleged. This is nothing but an act of hitting at the bellies of farmers, Ramaswamy said and pointed out that it was owing to such reasons that agricultural yield was reducing in the state and nation every year.
Ramaswamy produced documents to prove how widespread irregularities prevailed in the supply of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and other implements to farmers and alleged that the Department of Agriculture too had a role to play in providing false certification to seeds and in fixing their prices.He said the government was only shedding crocodile tears for the farmers and demanded a thorough probe into the irregularities and punishment to the guilty.