Now, Politics Invade Crop Seeds Distribution

IMPHAL, Feb 18: Citing recent trend of Ministers, MLAs and even aspiring politicians distributing food crop seeds at their fancy, a top Horticulture Department official has suggested that such a distribution program be entrusted to department officials/personnel.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official confided that the Department procures kharif and rabi crop seeds at an annual expenditure of about Rs 1 crore under the objective of enhancing food crops productivity in the State.

However, insistence by influential individuals as well as Ministers and MLAs that the seeds be provided to them for distribution at their respective areas (Assembly Constituencies) puts the Dept in an uncomfortable situation on numerous occasions as NGOs and individuals suspecting malpractices invoke Right to Information Act to seek relevant information and details about quantity and area of seed distribution, said the official.

Such complaints not only projects the Department in a bad light but also demoralizes the Dept officials and personnel whose commitment towards increasing the State’s food productivity is without doubt.

The official also explained that as the department is more familiar regarding information pertaining to suitability of a particular crop and soil texture compared to the individuals, it would be appropriate if the task is assigned to Horticulture Department.

Moreover, the Department personnel face inconveniences as complaints have been received from individuals that seed distribution by politicians are carried out in biased manner with the genuine farmers left in the lurch on many occasion, said the official.

With about 3000 beneficiaries already in the record book of the Dept denying them kharif or rabi crops in case the distribution activities is undertaken by the politicians the very objective of increasing food productivity in Manipur would remain as a pipe-dream, opined the official who also informed that most of the seeds are procured from reputed firms based in other parts of the country.

Confiding that the procured seeds are hybrid varieties and requires technical expertise to ensure commensurate yield, the official reiterated his appeal to all concerned not to intervene in the Department’s endeavor to achieve food security.

Further pointing out that the seeds are procured after due process in laboratories of major seed factories, he also desired that initiative of the ICAR Research Manipur Centre to construct a seed factory materialize at the earliest.

Presenting a detailed account on the quantity of kharif crop seeds distributed to farmers, the official said a total of 3800 kilogram Bhendi (money maker variety), 215 kgs Brinjal (pusha purple long), 20 kg Chilli (Barnali), 190 kg Cucumber (Long Green) and 11,500 kgs French Bean had been provided to farmers of Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, Senapati, Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Chandel, Tamenglong, Churachandpur, Moreh and Jiribam had already been distributed.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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