Rs 2 crore fishery project in Meghalaya goes to waste?

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Shillong(Meghalaya), May 20 : An investment of Rs 2 crores which was made to enhance fish production in Ri Bhoi district has yielded absolutely no results with even the fingerlings which were present in the ponds having disappeared.

This matter was brought to light during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which discussed the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the year ending on March 31, 2016 wherein this wasteful expenditure was highlighted.

In this regard, PAC chairman Charles Pyngrope said that an unfruitful expenditure of Rs 2 crore was incurred by the Fisheries Department on a project which was executed by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
Pyngrope informed that there was a decision by the Agriculture Department to hand over this project through an agency for execution to MeECL without the knowledge of the Fisheries Department.

“The project was to augment the fishery ponds and hatcheries at Umsning with an already existing 30 lakh fingerlings per annum under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme. The department thought that by sanctioning Rs 2 crore they would augment the production of fish to 50 lakhs but even the 30 lakh fingerlings are no longer there which is of great concern,” Pyngrope said.

“The fact is we have lost what we were producing. Therefore we called the respective departments on what could be done to salvage this in order to ensure that the unfruitful expenditure would eventually become fruitful,” he added.

Terming the matter as serious, PAC member Himalaya M. Shangpliang said, “In this lockdown when we are all looking at self-sufficiency and be self-reliant in the production of fish in the State, we have come across this situation where even the fingerlings existing in the ponds have vanished.”

Informing that the PAC will take this matter very seriously, Shangpliang expressed surprise that the Fisheries Department was not aware of this whole project executed by the MeECL until 98 per cent of the work was completed.

“What has happened was that the money was sanctioned by the Agriculture Department under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and from this RKVY fund, the money was transferred to a farmer’s consortium and this consortium released the money directly to MeECL and the Fishery Department did not have any trace of this money in their books of accounts. This farmer’s consortium of the Agriculture Department directly transferred this money to the MeECL and asked it to do this work without the knowledge of the Fisheries Department,” Shangpliang said.

“It was until 98 percent of the work was done that MeECL informed the Fisheries Department that their ponds are ready. When the fisheries officers went to see these ponds they found that all these ponds are leaking and most of the work was of sub-standard quality .There was no retention of water and all these nine ponds dried up and all the already existing fingerlings were lost,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee has decided to conduct a spot inspection of the ponds at Umsning on May 26.
“The committee would like to see for itself the condition of the ponds that have been washed away and damaged due to the poor quality of work taken up by the MeECL and we will decide on the future course of action to be taken up,” Shangpliang added.

By special arrangement with Highland Post

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