The Assam government today denied the Congress allegation of irregularities in tractor distribution and claimed that an internal committee looked into the issue and found nothing objectionable in the entire process. "After these allegations were raised earlier, we had formed a five-member committee to look into the issue. It has recently submitted the report and found that no corruption took place," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told PTI here. The inquiry report has already been approved by the Cabinet, he added. Talking about purchasing the tractors through Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, he said if it is procured directly by the state government, only then it can be done from GeM. "As the scheme was for purchasing the tractors by the farmers with their choice of brand taking subsidy from the government, so it could not be done through GeM," said the Minister, who is also the Assam Government's Official Spokesperson. Patowary further informed that the second round of tractor distribution will also begin and the government has decided to float tender soon. On December 10 last year, Assam government had started distribution of 10,109 tractors across the state as part of its aim to make the farmers' income double by 2022 under the Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY). Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had informed that Rs 1,000 crore was earmarked for providing 70 per cent subsidy for the tractors, while 20 per cent of the cost were borne by the banks and rest 10 per cent by the beneficiaries. Earlier in the day, the leader of Opposition in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, had alleged massive corruption in distribution of tractors among farmers and demanded an all-party House committee probe into the matter. The senior Congress MLA also alleged mining irregularities by Coal India in the state and sought a CBI enquiry into the issue. "In case of one particular tractor company, named Preet, the government paid a higher amount.
The company quoted the price of one tractor in Farmer Portal as 5.83 lakh. But the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal shows price of one tractor as 4.53 lakh," Saikia alleged at a press meet on the Assembly premises. This price difference hints at the "massive corruption" at the top level, he alleged.
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