No illegal sand mahal, but there’s illegal transportation of sand: Brahma
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 29: One of the popular slogans of the coalition government at Dispur – an Assam free from pollution – and the ground reality on this front seem to be seriously out of sync. Till the fag-end of this fincial year, no fund has been spent by Dispur for increasing green cover in the State where it is shrinking fast.
This ground reality came to light on the floor of the Assam Assembly on Thursday in State Environment and Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma’s reply to a question from Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia.
It has come to light from the information revealed by the minister in the House that in his 2017-18 Budget speech the State Fince Minister did announce an allocation of Rs 5 crore for plantation of saplings in areas with shrinking forest cover. “The amount will be released to the respective divisiol forest offices (DFOs) soon,” Brahma informed the House.
Replying to another question from AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam, Brahma has said that there are no illegal sand mahals in the State, but illegal transportation of sand is a fact. She said: “There are ten sand malals under reserved forest areas and 224 mahals outside reserved forest in the State. In fiscal 2016-17 and so far in fiscal 2017-18 Rs 97.28 crore has been received as revenue from the sand mahals.”
Allegations are doing rounds in the State that sand is transported without challans and with fake challans. The Bureau of Investigations Economic Offences (BIEO) has been investigating the alleged illegal transportation of sand from Doigrung sand mahal. The Kamrup police is also investigating allegations of illegal transportation of sand from the mahals near Chhaygaon.