Cong probe push into tractor 'scam'

Debabrata Saikia addresses the news conference in Dispur on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati: The Opposition Congress on Friday demanded that the state government constitute an Assembly committee to probe allegations of corruption in distribution of tractors among farmers under the Chief Minister's Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY).

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Debabrata Saikia alleged massive corruption in distribution of tractors and sought an inquiry by a House panel comprising MLAs from all parties into it as well as other graft charges against the BJP-led government in the state.

Saikia told reporters outside the Assembly that a senior bureaucrat has shown "undue favour" to a particular company manufacturing tractors though insolvency proceedings have been initiated against that company at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

"The particular bureaucrat is also building a resort in Himachal Pradesh," he said.

Saikia added that the state government has accepted the price of Rs 5.83 lakh per tractor offered by that particular company whereas the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal shows price of the same tractor as 4.53 lakh.

"This price difference suggests corruption at the top level," he said.

GeM is a national public procurement portal launched by the Centre to transform the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by the government ministries/departments, PSUs and autonomous bodies among others by facilitating procurement at a lower cost.

Around 26,000 tractors will be distributed by the state government under the CMSGUY that aims to double farmers' income by 2022.

In the first phase, 10,109 tractors were given away on December 10, 2017.

Saikia also alleged that rampant illegal coal trade is going on in the state and the Sarbananda Sonowal government has turned a blind eye to it. "Tonnes of coal are being pilfered from the coalfields of Coal India Limited (CIL) in Margherita," he said.

"Since CIL is a central government undertaking, we want a CBI inquiry into the matter," Saikia said.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi last Monday had also alleged that the state government is not taking any effective step to stop the illegal coal trade at Margherita since a BJP MLA is involved in it.

The Assam government, however, has denied the allegation.


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