Shimla, May 1 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh, whose agriculture sector provides direct employment to about 69 percent of the state’s population, does not know its sowing season, it appears so.
The Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India has said the state agriculture department supplied 33,011 quintals of seeds costing Rs.9.39 crore to farmers after the sowing seasons during the period 2010 to 2015.
It also said there was shortfall of one lakh tonnes in supply of fertilisers during this period.
In the test-checked districts, 28,909.63 quintals of wheat and 4,101.47 quintals of maize were distributed among the farmers from 2010-15 after the sowing seasons, entailing a delay ranging between one and 135 days.
The agriculture department director informed the CAG that nearly 80 percent area of the districts was rain-fed and sometimes the deficient rainfall resulted in delay in sowing of crops.
The CAG said the reply was not acceptable as the seeds should have been made available to the farmers before the start of the sowing seasons.
It also picked holes in the procurement of seed potatoes, one of the main cash crops.
The shortfall in production of foundation potato seed against the projected yield during 2010-15 ranged between 22 and 92 percent for Kharif and 16 and 46 percent for Rabi crop.
Contrary to the guidelines, the agriculture department procured 182.40 quintals wheat breeder seed of four varieties namely WH-1021, PBW-644, HS-375 and HD-2967 that are susceptible to yellow rust during 2014-15 and supplied to the farmers.
The expenditure of Rs.7.66 lakh on the procurement of these varieties proved infructuous.