|A B Sharma|
Early Times Report
Rajouri, May 19: Always on a wrong foot for many illegal works since the taking over of the Social Forestry Department (SFD) Rajouri by the corrupt heads, this time also it has been caught for siphoning off illicit money against works executed by it.
Just two kilometers away from Sunderbani tehsil, the department at Thandapani had taken up a plantation project at a closure under compartment 47/48 to plant nearly 11, 500 saplings for greening the area.
Since the area marked for greening was measured to be accommodating 11,500 saplings for plantation, the department under the corrupt practice of its incharge District Forest Officer ( DFO), Junior Ranger and Forester withdrew the money according to the rate of the sapling @ Rs 29.30 but bought only 5000 saplings, thus gulping the remaining money.
Already it has been reported that the department could not release 'self cheques' for releasing the money for the works, but yet again this practice was conducted and a sum of Rs 3,36,950 was withdrawn against 11,500 saplings.
But purchasing only 5000 saplings, some of which were bought at less amount @ Rs29.30 a piece, the three corrupt department heads paid only 1,46,500 while distributed the remaining amount of Rs 190, 450 among themselves.
It was not only one case of isolation of purchasing lesser saplings than the required, the department also 'self-released' a sum of Rs 60,000 also renovate a water Bawli at Thandapani, but on its real face, the Bawli was only given a patch work and an outer whitewash, the cost of which amounted to Rs 10,000 while the remaining Rs 50,000 went unaccounted to the corrupt officials.
It has been already reported about a pond too taken up for renovation by the officials of which a side wall had caved in, but for another adjacent water body, the department also 'self-released' an amount of Rs 1,00,000, the account of expenditure of which is still not known.
The people of the area who were to be benefitted with the greenery as well as renovation of water Bawli and the water body lament that since the SFD is being run by the incompetent incharge DFO along with his corrupt officials, tehsil Sunderbani has been suffering on many accounts.
They also allege that despite sending many complaints to the hierarchy as well as the department heads and the concerned minister to look into the corrupt practices of SFD under the incumbent incharge DFO, nothing has been initiated against him.
They have appealed the new Forest Minister Rajeev Jasrotia to take the cognizance of the corrupt forestry practices at Sunderbani which is being run by a mafia in which SFD officials are prime accused.