Fake seed growers’ scam in Haryana unearthed; probe ordered

Fake seed growers’ scam in Haryana unearthed; probe ordered

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has ordered a vigilance inquiry into the matter. - File photo

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15

An alleged scam of fake seed growers has been unearthed at Haryana Seed Development Corporation (HSDC) where people having meagre land have been found supplying seeds grown over hundreds of acres, in collusion with government officials, and pocketing money meant for genuine seed growers.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has ordered a vigilance inquiry into the matter.

It has come to the fore that the practice has been going on for decades.

The HSDC was set up in 1974 for providing certified seeds to farmers. Along with the HSDC, other government and private agencies provide around 33 lakh quintals certified seeds to state farmers. The government agencies provide certified seeds at subsidied rates.

Those landowners who supply seeds to government agencies in Haryana get MSP of Rs 1,975 for wheat along with Rs 400 per quintal. For pulses and other kharif crops, it is MSP along with 30 per cent extra.

After a complaint of fraud in the seed development programme from Jind, managing director (MD), HSDC, Sanjeev Verma found out that one of the elected directors of the HSDC, Mahinder Singh, had no land in his family’s name in Gilakhera village in Hisar, but had taken to the seed production programme over 60 acres from the HSDC, 13 acres from Kribhco in his wife’s name and 10 acres from IFFDC in his son’s name.

At Thaska village, he has 9-10 acre land, but had taken to seed development programme over 42 acres from the HSDC. His daughter had taken 10-acre land in Sartod village, but she doesn’t own agricultural land in her name.

In the case of former director Parvesh Vohra’s family in Umri, Verma found out that he had taken to the seed development programme over 315 acres, but on record he, along with his family, owns just 65 acres.

The MD concluded that the role of officials of the HSDC and the Haryana State Seed Certification Agency (HSSCA), which certifies seed, could not be ruled out.

He pointed out that traders, arhtiyas and other fake farmers are supplying wheat seed, after purchasing it at cheaper rates from UP, Rajasthan and other states and converting their black money into white as they get Rs 400 per quintal from the HSDC over MSP.

The same land is being used for seed development programmes for different agencies. He said for wheat cultivation approximately 10-12 lakh quintals of wheat seed is used against 33-35 lakh quintals being processed, which points towards “fraud”.

The HSDC has recommended for the recovery of Rs 4.62 lakh from Vohra and Rs 15.76 lakh from Mahinder Singh and requested the Agriculture Department to implement “Meri Fasal Mera Byora”, an online portal for keeping the record of farmers’ land, for the seed development programme of the HSDC and other government and private agencies.

When the matter reached Agriculture Minister JP Dalal, he noted “serious irregularities” by seed growers and “officials of HSDC and HSSCA”. He requested the CM to refer the matter to the Vigilance Department on May 27. While ordering a vigilance inquiry, the CM, on May 29, also called for taking the issue to its logical conclusion regarding recovery.

On June 11, the Agriculture Department wrote to the Chief Secretary for sending the matter to the SVB as per the CM’s order and submitting the inquiry report within a month.  

Officials’ involvement not ruled out

After a complaint from Jind, it was found out that an elected director of the HSDC, Mahinder Singh, had no land in his family’s name in Gilakhera village in Hisar, but had taken to the seed production programme over 60 acres from the HSDC, 13 acres from Kribhco in his wife’s name and 10 acres from IFFDC in his son’s name. More such cases have come to light. HSDC MD said the role of officials of the corporation and the state seed certification agency could not be ruled out.

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