BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 29: The Aranya Suraksha Samiti, Assam, an NGO of the State, has sought seizure of assets of the ‘corrupt officials’ of the State Forest Department. Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Haricharan Das , secretary general of Aranya Suraksha Samiti said that the Chief Minister office (CMO) has very tactfully removed Principal Chief Conservator of Forest VK Bishnoi from his duties on charges of his alleged involvement in corruption, but that punishment is not enough for the top forest official.
“We have demanded the Government to seize all the assets of the corrupt officials of the Forest Department and top stop their pensions. PCCF Bishnoi is just an example. There are numbers of officials in the Forest Department who have embezzled huge amount of money of various schemes including tiol Bamboo Mission, Social Afforestration, Supplying of Solar Panel, Supplying of Bio Gas during the period from 2008 to 2011 ,” Das said.
He also said that even though the Government initiated a probe in 2013 in connection with the corruption under various schemes of the department following a High Court order , the inquiry report of the corruption has not been made public even today.
Das said upon physical verification of the progress (as obtained through application of the RTI) said to have been made under the tiol Bamboo Mission scheme in a number of districts of the State, the ground situation was found to be one of total contrast, with absolutely no plantation or afforestation work in most of the districts.
“The department in an RTI reply has stated that the bamboo planted under the tiol Bamboo Mission scheme have been consumed by elephants,” revealed Das.
“The plantation or afforesttaion under the scheme where Rs 300crore were incurred exists only in paper, and the money has been embezzled in a most illegal and corrupt manner without executing any work,” he added.
Addressing the press meet RTI activist Dileep th said, “Since 2006-07 to present day, the Central Government has given Rs 25 core to Kaziranga tiol Park only the me of tiger project but to our utter surprise, State Forest Minister Etua Munda has given completely wrong information to the media that Centre has not sanctioned money.”
He said that the centre sanctioned Rs 1,07,65,900 in 2008-09, Rs 25285745 in 2009-10, Rs 98622000 in 2010-11, Rs 31527000 in 2011-12, Rs 2,43,90,00 in 2012-13 and Rs 57798200 in Rs 2013-14 in the me of Tiger Project. Similarly, during the period from 2006-07 to 2012-13 , the centre has given more than Rs 80 lakh in me of elephant project, but the Forest minister have concealed these facts, which proved that was huge anomalies, th claimed.
“I also got evidence from the RTI information that there is nexus between the poachers and a section of forest officials,” he said.