A huge drain of public money has been detected by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in purchase of cows in Mizoram.
As per its report tabled in state legislature, the recommendations of an expert committee were overlooked.
The CAG report said that the Director of Mizoram's Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department failed to comply with the recommendations of an expert committee resulting in the death of 126 cows and monetary loss of Rs 68.04 lakh which could have been largely avoided.
Under the New Land Use Policy (NLUP), the flagship program of the present Congress government in the state, the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department placed orders for supply of dairy cows at the rate of Rs 55,000 per cow from two firms - Kwality Dairy and Agro Sales, Karnal in Haryana (500 cows) and Model Diary Cattle Breeding Farm, Ludhiana in Punjab (300 cows).
The two firms were not among the four firms which made their bids in response to the tender floated by the Departmental Purchase Advisory Board, the report said.
The report said that the two firms together dispatched 788 cows, of which 43 died during transit and there was public protest when the supply and distribution of dairy cows was in full swing over the health conditions and quality of the cattle distributed to the NLUP beneficiaries.
Among others, the import of cows from outside the state, allegedly caused the death of many domestic cows due to outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) which prompted the state government to constitute a three-member Enquiry Committee headed by Principal Secretary for Disaster Management and Rehabilitation on July 24, 2012.
The committee recommended procurement and transportation of diary cows from far-off places like Punjab and Haryana during the winter season before the end of February.
But, the CAG noted, the Director of AH and Veterinary department again placed orders for supply of 1,400 dairy cows from the same firms at the rate of Rs 54,000 each and, in blatant disregard to the recommendations of the committee, allowed the firms to supply 1,372 cows between March and May in 2013.
As a consequence, 16 cows died during transit while 110 cows died inside Mizoram while in transit camps and the failure of the state Veterinary department to comply with the recommendation of the expert committee resulted in the death of 126 diary cows and the loss of public money to the tune of Rs 68.04 lakh, the CAG report said.
(With PTI inputs)