Shimla – The Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued notices to several senior officials in a case concerning the alleged irregular allotment of shops and booths by the Agriculture Produce Marketing Board in Kangra district. The notices were issued to the Principal Secretary and Director of the Agriculture Department, Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Produce Marketing Board, the Secretary of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee, the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, and the Superintendent of Police, State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. These officials have been asked to submit their responses to the court.

Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua issued the order during the preliminary hearing of the case. According to the petition, the committee had advertised the allotment of shops and booths designated for selling vegetables and fruits in various areas of Kangra district. These facilities were intended to support the bulk sale of these goods.

The advertisement detailed the reservation policy for allotment: 15 percent of shops were reserved for local residents, 50 percent for commission agents, 10 percent for cooperatives and related institutions, 10 percent for Scheduled Castes, 5 percent for Scheduled Tribes, and 10 percent for the backward class category. However, it is alleged that the Krishi Utpadan Marketing Committee Kangra violated these rules, allocating shops, booths, and godowns to individuals who did not meet the criteria.

The petition further alleges that some individuals acquired fake certificates to obtain these shops, successfully bypassing the established rules. The implicated shopkeepers have been made respondents in their personal capacities.

Despite these serious allegations, the High Court has not yet issued notices to the then-secretary and the shopkeepers who are respondents. The petitioner had previously complained with the competent authorities, but no action was taken.

The High Court has scheduled the next hearing for August 13, 2024, to further deliberate on the case and the responses from the notified officials.