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AASU demands action against DFO over 'corruption' in Dhemaji Division

In the wake of the arrest of Makhan Islam, the Ranger of Jonai Range Division, on corruption charges, the Dhemaji

AASU

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 Jun 2020 5:07 AM GMT

A CORRESPONDENT

LAKHIMPUR: In the wake of the arrest of Makhan Islam, the Ranger of Jonai Range Division, on corruption charges, the Dhemaji district unit of All Assam Students' Union (AASU) expressed strong reaction against Dhemaji District Forest Division.

In this connection, the organization demanded the district administration and the State Government to initiate action against the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Safiqur Rahman alleging corruption.

On Thursday at around 3 pm, Makhan (Fakarul) Islam, the Ranger of Jonai Range Division, was arrested on the Dhemaji- Silapathar road after being caught red-handed by the Assam Anti-Corruption Bureau team led by the Superintendent of Police, Sumeet Sharma, on charges of demanding and accepting bribe of Rs. 2,00,000 from complainant Sandeep Das of Jonai, Dhemaji.

In this regard, Dhemaji AASU president Dipak Kumar Sarmah and general secretary Kalyan Gogoi, in a press release, said that the arrest of the Ranger had proved that the allegations of massive corruption in Dhemaji Forest Division raised by the organization and the people of the district were true without any doubt.

"Though corrupted Forest Officer of Dhemaji, Mahat Chandra Talukder was arrested, the corruption running in the Dhemaji Forest Division since his days has not come to an end. Smuggling of valuable timber and an extensive syndicate in connection with Khoyer tree has come into existence in the district under the patronage of the Forest Department. Khoyer trees from Subansiri, Jiadholmukh and Simen Chapori, along with valuable timber from Poba Reserve Forest, are illegally transported out of the district by railway and river-ways. After the inauguration of the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra, a large syndicate has also come into being in the sand and stone mahals of River Simen under the patronage of the Forest Department. A large amount of sand and stone excavated in the part of the River Simen belonging to Assam has been supplied to various places without any challan. As a result of it, the State Government has to lose a large amount of revenue due to this illegal exploration of river resources done as a result of the confederation between the forest department and sand-stone mafias. Because of the instigation caused by this section of sand and stone mafias, people from the State of Arunachal have been creating tense situation claiming the land of Assam up to the railway line belonging to Dhemaji district as theirs. In addition to River Simen, a large amount of sand and stone dredged in some more other rivers like Demou, Leku and Subansiri has also been transported illegally," stated the press release.

Dhemaji AASU, through the same press release, further alleged that the Dhemaji Forest Office had not taken any initiative to resolve the Assam-Arunachal border dispute permanently and to stop the illegal dredging of sand and stones in River Simen despite the consecutive demands made by the organization.

"Though a memorandum was submitted by our organization to the Deputy Commissioner of the district demanding the declaration of magisterial inquiry against the massive corruption that has been taking place in the Dhemaji Forest Division under the patronage of the DFO, no response has been entertained to the memorandum till day," the press release said.

On the other hand, Dhemaji AASU expressed resentment over the fact that the DFO had not been arrested because Jonai Ranger Makhan Islam and complainant Sandip Das, the proprietor of a wood furniture industry in Jonai town, gave statements that the bribe incident took place on account of the suggestions of the DFO.

Under such circumstances, the Dhemaji AASU president and the general secretary expressed their doubt that high-level officers of the Forest Department might be involved in the massive corruption that was going on in Dhemaji Forest Division. In this regard, the organization demanded an impartial investigation against the bribery episode and demanded the immediate arrest of the DFO. Further, the president and the general secretary demanded to ensure that no corrupt officers and employees of the department concerned could escape from the ambit of the inquiry.

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