GUWAHATI: Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya warned a section of corrupt forest officials on Tuesday and set a 15-day deadline for them to end all corrupt practices and put in place a system to plug the revenue loss.
The Minister’s warnings came days after he had made some sudden night patrols on the areas under Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges and witnessed movement of hundreds of trucks carrying illegal sand and stones. However, the official record registered only a few trucks moving with the forest resources, indicating that illegal trade is thriving.
“An emergency meeting was held the CCF, Central Zone; the PCCF; the DFO East Kamrup; and the beat officers of Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges. I warned the officers, particularly the beat officers of these two forest ranges, against the illegal trade of sand and stone,” Suklabaidya said.
Suklabaidya added, “Right from taking charge, I personally visited many areas and busted a number of illegal sawmills, besides taking action against many officials for their illegal activities. I don’t rule out the involvement of a section of forest officials in such illegal activities. Such activities will be dealt with our avowed policy of zero tolerance against corruption. Action will be immediate.”
Parimal Suklabaidya, who as Excise Minister, had plugged the revenue leakage of the department, directed State’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest AM Singh to provide adequate force to carry out raids at all suspected locations and check points across the above mentioned places to check all kinds of illegal activities regarding the trade of natural resources.
“If any officer, irrespective of his designation, is found to be involved in such trades, he will be placed under suspension immediately and there will be legal action against him,” he said.
The Minister also directed the Chief Conservator of Forests to handle the issues of permit for such natural resources required for development works by different departments like PWD, Water Resources etc. so that the illegal trade could be checked.