The Gujarat state co-operative department has cancelled the membership of over 500 co-operative societies in the state following a probe into alleged misappropriation of government funds within these societies.
Following the year-long probe, of the 6,116 defunct societies, 463 were successfully reactivated while 704 were declared bankrupt while 506 were cancelled due to various irregularities. Around 3 lakh bogus members of various such co-operative societies were also axed.
Ahmedabad City and district had the highest number of cooperative societies facing bankruptcy at 240.
A total of 47 cooperative societies within Ahmedabad city and 193 within the district are bankrupt. A significant number of bogus cooperative society members (2,417 ) are from Ahmedabad city, while 1,838 are from the rural areas of the district. Their membership now stands cancelled.
Notably, 9,993 members have also been removed from cooperative societies in Gandhinagar. The cooperation department has cancelled the memberships of a total of 299,213 individuals following the investigation.
The crackdown follows a broader transformation initiated within the cooperative structure of the state and India under Home Minister Amit Shah. Co-operative societies are also being brought into the digital age.
The probe was initiated following the efforts of Minister of State for Cooperation, Jagdish Panchal to assess the competence and transparency of cooperative societies operating in Gujarat.
Over 87,000 societies registered with the cooperative registrar system were subjected to a the probe, highlighting specific exposures within credit societies, milk cooperative societies, irrigation, labour, and forest-related organisations.
The findings show that numerous cooperative societies were formed only to exploit government schemes for political or financial gain. Some societies, allegedly bogus, participated in government tenders but failed to execute any meaningful work.
Moreover, it also emerged that certain bogus members were strategically added to societies to exert control over them and get annual benefits.