Officials embezzle money in the name of advanced varieties of crops

Mehedee Hasan Sohel, Gazipur 

Officials of Gazipur Sadar Upazila Agriculture Office have been accused of embezzling money in the name of setting up advanced varieties of crops, technology exhibitions and organising field day allotted toa consolidate agro-based economy. 

There have been allegations of embezzling money allocated through false vouchers without holding various exhibitions of corn, onion, VT eggplant, mustard etc.

Besides, the number of farmers selected for the production of exhibited seeds, that has been shown in papers is more than the number of real farmers.

According to the investigation, the allegations against the concerned people of Gazipur Sadar Upazila Agriculture Office for the introduction and expansion of new crops, crop varieties and improved agricultural technology in the last fiscal year 2018-2019 did not materialize in the exhibition field day paper. 

There is no end to the irregularities in exhibition and observation activities in revenue financing as part of activities to expand improved varieties and technologies of crops and increase production to address the challenges of food security. 

Upazila Agriculture Officer Sabina Sultana, Additional Agriculture Officer Banani Karmakar and Extension Agriculture Officer Sabrina Afrin are allegedly involved in all these irregularities while Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Md. Shahidul Islam Bhuiyan Pavel, Sania Sultana and some others are assisting them.

Ahsan Sarkar, a farmer of Sukandi village in Baria union of Sadar upazila, cultivates ginger under the project of production, storage and distribution of pulses, oil and spice seeds of the Department of Agricultural Extension to make the farmers interested in spice production. 

Farmer Ahsan prepares the land as per instructions. Although ginger seeds were to be purified before sowing in the land, due to non-cooperation of the Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer in charge of the block, the farmers planted ginger in the land without purification. Farmer Ahsan Sarkar said that the ginger plant growing in the field turned red and died after a while due to fungus attack.

When asked on his mobile phone, Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer  Md. Shahidul Islam Bhuiyan Pavel hung up the phone saying that he had nothing to say about ginger cultivation. 

In Digdha village of the same block, a field day has been held at the exhibition plot of Md. Suruzzaman, the head of Boro Brie Paddy-71, an exhibition of seed production of 15 farmers. It was a field day for 50 farmers. All the farmers present on this field day were supposed to get honorarium of Tk 300. On the condition of anonymity, some farmers said that photocopies of national identity cards had been taken, but no allowance was given to them except a few.

Upazila Agriculture Officer Sabina Sultana said, "We are now busy with the post-flood situation in Corona. I don't want to talk about old things. Write a report about our good deeds - do not write bad words”.

According to multiple sources, Gazipur Deputy Director of Agricultural Extension. Mahbub Alam does not personally inspect or supervise the field. He is accused of embezzling money in the name of speech allowance without attending various upazila trainings. 

Regarding, irregular mismanagement of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Gazipur Deputy Director Mahbub Alam said, there are no irregularities there.