Haryana agriculture minister gives clean chit to rice millers
Even as hundreds of government officials along with police personnel are conducting physical verification of paddy stock at rice mills of the state, Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal gave a clean chit to rice millers, saying that there was no scam and allegations of the opposition parties were baseless.
At the time when the opposition parties are terming the investigation a ‘cover up’ and government is being criticised for working under a ‘strong lobby’ of rice millers and commission agents, Dalal’s statement has raised question mark over credibility of the verification, which is yet to be completed.
“Kaun kehta hai ghotala hua hai ? Haryana pradesh ka dhaan godaam me rakha hua hai (Who says there is a scam? Haryana’s paddy is stocked in warehouses),” Dalal said while interacting with mediapersons during his visit to Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Karnal’s Gharaunda on Monday.
“The government has a right to inspect the stock of paddy procured by its agencies. It does not prove that there was a scam in the procurement. So far, no irregularity has been detected by the inspection teams,” he said.
‘Bring cheap labour from Orissa’
Earlier during his visit, he advised the centre’s officials to bring labourers at cheaper rates from Orissa and other states. He even told them that there were labourers at his farm who work at ₹100 per day. “Why are you paying higher wages to labourers while we pay only ₹100 per labourer at our farm. You should call labourers from Orissa,” he told the officials. However, the officials said this was a government-run centre and workers cannot be paid less than the daily wages fixed by the government.
BKU leaders protest, seek probe in bogus billing
Meanwhile, members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) have accused the government of not taking action against the people involved in the paddy scam. They alleged that officials of the Haryana agriculture marketing board, food and supply department and commission agents were also involved in the scam along with rice millers. BKU Haryana president Ratan Mann said, “Erring officials have been tasked with the physical verification. We want a judicial inquiry in this scam so that stern action can be taken against the culprits.”