The Congress today alleged massive corruption by Assam government officials in distribution of tractors among farmers, a charge denied by the state government.
The leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, at a press meet in the Assembly premises alleged about irregularities in tractor distribution.
"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 portal shows price of a tractor as 4.53 lakh," Saikia said.
This price difference hints at the "massive corruption" at the top level, he alleged, demanding an all-party House committee probe into the matter.
The scheme had also promised farmers their choice of brand for the tractors, but some "influential people" forced them to accept vehicles of just one particular company, he alleged.
When asked about the people involved in the matter, Saikia said, "Many officials and bureaucrats might have benefited from it. One of them is building his resort in Himachal Pradesh. You (media) please find out."
Stating that the Congress will raise the issue in the House during the ongoing Budget Session, he said the company in question is also under the scanner of the central government over various fraudulent activities.
On December 10 last year, the Assam government had started distributing tractors across the state as part of its initiative to double farmers' income by 2022, under the Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY).
Talking about CMSGUY at the press meet, Saikia alleged it has become a "money making scheme" for some people in the government.
"In 2016, the government announced this scheme for rural development, envisaging an investment of Rs 30,000 crore over the next five years. So ideally, by the end of the first year, there should have been an investment of at least Rs 5,000 crore and till now, Rs 7500 crore should have been spent for the scheme Nothing of that sort has happened," he said.
Denying Saikia's allegations against the tractor distribution programme, Assam industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary claimed an internal committee has already looked into the issue and found nothing objectionable in the entire process.
"These allegations were raised earlier and we had formed a five-member committee to look into the issue. It has recently submitted the report, which says no corruption has taken place," the parliamentary affairs minister and government spokesperson told PTI here.
The inquiry report has already been approved by the Cabinet, he added.
Talking about the purchase of the tractors, he said, "As the scheme allowed farmers to have tractors of their own choice, it was not done through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal.
Goods or services can be purchased on the portal only when the state government buys them directly," said the minister.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)