Govt notices to fishery dept officials

Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, Jan 12 – At least seven district heads of the fishery department have been slapped show-cause notices for “negligence of official duty” as an under-fire government went on an overdrive to set the house in order after it came to light that utilization of State Plan Fund by the department was nil, while other schemes are progressing at snail’s pace.Following an expose by The Assam Tribune, all the District Fishery Development Officers were summoned to the directorate and taken to task.

“The district officers were quizzed regarding pendency of applications for the BJP government’s pet project ‘Matsya Jagaran – Ghore Ghore Pukhuri, Ghore Ghore Maachh’, which has failed to take off till date. While it came to light that many of the applications of aspiring beneficiaries were conspicuously stuck in the directorate itself, nearly 7,000 of them were approved within the last two days after ascertaining their eligibility criteria,” the sources said.

Special teams were formed to verify the applications and they, along with the district officers, were made to work till late in the night till around 10 pm during the last two days.

The NABARD-aided Rural Infrastructure Development Fund Scheme, estimated at Rs 100 crore, is now likely to be launched within the next fortnight, with the fishery department set to move the finance department for funds.

The district officers were also directed to move all the proposals under the State Plan Fund and most of them are learnt to have already got ‘technical sanction’ in the last couple of days.

Sources said a meeting on the JICA-funded Rs 3,000-crore project, which aims at doubling fish production and farmers’ income, is also likely to be held shortly. There has been no progress on that project as well.

Seven district heads of the fishery department have been issued show-cause notices for “negligence of duty” and “keeping official work pending”. Three district officers, who did not respond to the summons and had instead sent their representatives, were also slapped similar notices. Senior officials have not ruled out possibility of sterner action against the lax officers.

Taking cognizance of the lapses, Fishery Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has asked the officials to ensure that the State Plan Fund of Rs 11.90 crore is spent within the stipulated time.

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