Lakhs of rupees allotted for silviculture in the forest areas of Mayurbhanj district have allegedly been misappropriated. An investigation revealed the works had been carried out only in pen and paper and funds swindled.
State Government releases funds every year to certain forest divisions for silviculture which is the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values. According to the information obtained through RTI, it is learnt that nearly `11 lakh was released to Kaptipada range under Baripada division for the purpose in 2011.
Though the officials claimed the work was completed in time and workers engaged for it were paid, a verification of documents revealed money had been swindled in the name of workers, some of whom were mentioned working for a number of forest ranges.
While one worker Sabita Selengi has been mentioned by a forester as a native of Haridachua village, another forester has identified her as a resident of Ashrukhal. Surprisingly, the same worker has been paid money by both the foresters. Selengi’s signature also matches in both the vouchers. Even as the work has been carried out in different sections, the names of daily wagers engaged are also found to be similar. Locals alleged though lakhs of rupees are said to be spent for cleaning and regeneration of forests in the district, no such work has been done.
Meanwhile, the then ranger and DFO have been transferred. Not just in Kaptipada range under Baripada division, money sanctioned for other division have also been siphoned off. Locals have demanded an impartial inquiry and stringent action against officials involved in the corruption.
DFO Sanjay Swain said he would inquire into the allegations if he receives a written complaint.