SHILLONG: The State government has not utilised around Rs 90 crore sanctioned for various horticulture schemes and may have a reduced central budgetary allocation in the sector next year if it does not pull up its socks.
Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, as well as a top bureaucrat in the Ministry, who were in the city on Monday, raised the issue of under-utilisation of funds in Meghalaya in the last four years.
Vinit K. Verma, Director (Cooperative) in the Ministry, said the State government has to strengthen its mechanism and incur expenditure failing which funds will be reduced in the next year’s budget.
Both Bhagat and Verma met state officials of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and water resources in the city on Monday.
“The state will have to pull up its socks for the implementation of certain schemes, including Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), in the horticulture sector,” Verma said and suggested that Meghalaya should opt for value addition as it already has plenty of horticultural and agricultural produces.
He, however, appreciated the State government’s efforts to promote organic farming and stressed on the need for sensitising farmers about new technologies and central schemes.
“As per the interest of the people in the northeastern region, the respective states should encourage piggery and goat rearing instead of imposing schemes on people,” said Bhagat.
Meanwhile, Verma said though Meghalaya has large paddy coverage production is less as far as the national productivity is concerned. But he appreciated the State’s endeavour in implementing most of the central schemes.