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Irregularities found in turmeric procurement

Irregularities found in  turmeric procurement
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Highlights

Senior officials of Markfed had arrived at a conclusion that there were serious irregularities and informed to the district administration about the entire ‘corrupt’ episode and the Collector asked the Joint Collector-2 to look into the matter.

Nellore: The Andhra Pradesh State Cooperative Marketing Federation Limited (Markfed) officials and district administration found irregularities in turmeric procurement in the district where Grade-B stocks were paid Grade-A price.

Highlights:

  • Some villagers did not cultivate the crop and but stocks are sold on their names
  • Markfed purchased 34,214 quintals of turmeric worth Rs 21.81 cr

Some leaders in the guise of farmers in upland mandals sold turmeric crop to Markfed in huge quantity even though the cultivation is very limited in the region. After the huge scandal coming to light, officials had conducted enquiry on the issue at a village randomly where astonishing facts came to fore.

In fact, Markfed had purchased 34,214 quintals of turmeric from local farmers of Atmakur, Duttalur, Marripadu, Sitaramapuram, Udayagiri, Vinjamur and Varikuntapadu mandals to the tune of Rs 21.81 crore through its purchasing centres due to the alleged pressure from local political leaders where they had hatched a plot to swallow funds of the Markfed with the help of local officials in the guise of supporting farmers.

Some farmers, who fail to get good rate had taken the issue to the government and to local media that there were irregularities and the officials of Markfed from Nellore and Vijayawada conducted random checks at some villages where farmers categorically mentioned about ‘no cultivation of turmeric’ in their villages.

Senior officials of Markfed had arrived at a conclusion that there were serious irregularities and informed to the district administration about the entire ‘corrupt’ episode and the Collector asked the Joint Collector-2 to look into the matter.

Many villagers clarified that they had not cultivated the crop in their areas before the senior officials such as senior procurement manager and general manager of the Markfed. The main allegation was when turmeric was procured at low price in other parts of the state and it was purchased for Rs 6,000-6,500 in the district even though the quality was not superfine.

Local officials like VROs and field assistants of the Horticulture department showed turmeric was cultivated even in barren lands and some others reportedly transported low quality stocks and sold at the purchasing centres in the district at higher rates. There are irregularities in around 50 per cent of transactions and now the district administration is planning to deploy teams for inspecting the villagers where reportedly the crop was cultivated.

“We found irregularities in purchase of 17 trucks of stocks during last month. There are two grades such as Grade A and B. The stocks purchased at Udayagiri in Nellore were second grade and they were paid at Rs 6,500 under Grade-A.

Majority villages not cultivated the crop and some local leaders organised the sale using farmers as benamis and there was no role of district-level officials,” said Siva Koti Prasad, General Manager of AP Markfed. He also said that stocks from Prakasam and Kadapa districts were also procured at Udayagiri centre and they had reported to the district and state administration on the irregularities for necessary action.

By P V Prasad

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