Centre raps Odisha for tardy progress in agriculture sector

Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (IANS) Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday rapped the Odisha government for failing to spend the funds allocated under various schemes for the agriculture sector.

Holding a review meeting over implementation of central schemes with state government officials, Radha Mohan Singh said the funds allocated were not spent properly and the government also failed to expedite spending of the allocations made under various agriculture development schemes to the state.

He asked the state government officials to spend the allocations in time.

Odisha has lost Rs.50 crore as funds from the Centre due to failure in submitting the detailed project report (DPR) for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), said official sources.

They said expenditure on schemes like the Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana, Soil Health Card scheme, national mission on micro irrigation, rainfed area development scheme and national horticulture mission is tardy.

However, Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy assured that the remaining funds allocated by the Centre would be spent by March-end.

He said the state has already spent about 70-80 percent of the central funds while the balance will be utilised by March-end and the utilisation certificate will be submitted in due course of time.

As the state loses Rs.50 crore under PMKSY, Maharathy attributed the loss of funds to the late arrival of guidelines of the scheme.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was also present at the review meeting, said farmers in Odisha can earn Rs.500 crore more, taking into account the Rs.7,000 crore for paddy procurement in the state, if the leftover straw is used for production of ethanol.

He requested the state government and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)to facilitate extraction of bio-fuel from paddy residue in the state.

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