GUWAHATI, July 31 - Contractors have alleged gross anomalies in the selection process of hybrid paddy seeds to be supplied through the Assam Seed Corporation Ltd to different districts by the agriculture department of Assam. The bidding for the seed supply was held recently.
A section of traders who participated in the bidding alleged that after examining all bids, the agriculture department selected 23 bidders as responsive bidders who have offered lowest price rates against their variety of hybrid paddy.
According to government documents, after examining all bids, the agriculture department decided to supply US-305, US-312, AHR-8283, DRRH-3, SAVA-127, US-382, NPH-924-1, NPH-8899, PAC-8744, PAC-835, Ariza Prima, BIO-799, DRH-775, INDAM-200-017, MRP-5408, NK-5251, PNPH-24, Ariza-6444 Gold, RHR-111, JKRH-3333 and JKRH-401 varieties of hybrid paddy through the Assam Seed Corporation Ltd under various schemes.
But later, the agriculture department directed the Assam Seed Corporation Ltd to supply only DRRH-3, Ariza-6444 Gold, US-312, PAC-835, NPH-924-1, DRH-775 and NPH-8899 varieties of hybrid paddy.
�Earlier, the department used to allocate the supply work to all responsive bidders. But this time, they decided to allot the work to only a few of them. Interestingly, in the final selection, the officials did not lay stress on selecting varieties which are available for lower rates, as quoted by the bidders. This has raised many questions,� a trader alleged.
Reacting to the allegation, an official of the agriculture department said that they selected the varieties to be supplied �as per norms laid down by the Central government�.
Sources in the agriculture department said the list of responsive bidders was prepared by the high-level committee headed by Director of Agriculture Manoj Kumar. The other members of the committee were Kulendra Talukdar, Managing Director of Assam Seeds Corporation Ltd; Dr Pranab Kumar Mahanta, Director of Horticulture and Food Processing; Anal Malla Buzarbaruah, Deputy Director of Agriculture and Bani Kanta Bargohain, senior field assistant of the agriculture department. Dr Nandi Ray, general manager of marketing and trade division of Assam Seeds Corporation was a special invitee.
�If only seven bidders have fulfilled the Central government�s norms on seed quality, then why did the Board headed by the Director of Agriculture enlist altogether 23 dealers as the responsive bidders? Actually severe anomalies took place in this supply work and some officials tried to get undue benefits from it,� a trader pointed out. It is noteworthy that through these suppliers, the State government will supply seeds of hybrid paddy to various districts along with flood-affected areas under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India scheme.