NAGPUR: With no concrete action on the ground against miners who encroached upon forest land and also mined on reserve and protected forest in Pachgaon, the Nagpur forest division seems to be messing up with the mega scam.

In the past three months, action has been taken against at least 13 miners in Pachgaon. Out of these, three were accused of mining on reserve and protected forest land, while others had encroached upon the forest land.

The forest officials registered 13 primary offence reports (PORs) against the miners and seized material worth Rs5 crore from them. However, barring three quarry owners, who were charged with mining on forest land, quarries of all others are under operation. The miners are still using road from protected forest.

Even after three months, the officials have not demarcated forest boundaries and have also not removed the ‘kuccha’ and ‘pucca’ encroachments like labour sheds, offices and staff quarters.

On February 1, state nodal officer Suresh Gairola had told TOI that the demarcation work would be completed in one month.

Cases against all the accused were filed in Kuhi court but all the accused are out on bail due to lack of strong defence by the forest officials. Even after clear-cut cases of violation of Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980, and Indian Forest Act, 1927, no chargesheets have been filed against any miner yet.

One of the accused, whose anticipatory bail has also been rejected by the high court for mining on forest land, is in regular touch with forest officials but they have failed to take any action or compound his case.

“I’ve been victimized as I refused to give in to the RFO’s demand for money to settle the matter. There is also no action against encroachers on forest land, whereas I’m being singled out,” he told TOI on condition of anonymity.

At a meeting on March 5, Tasneem Ahmed, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) for production & management, has directed chief conservator of forests (CCF) for Nagpur Circle SH Patil to issue show-cause notice to ACF SS Chavan for submitting a false report in May 2012 on illegal mining in Pachgaon.

Ahmed has also asked Patil to take action against those who overlooked illegal mining in Pachgaon since 2002 despite registering PORs. On Monday, Ahmed also asked deputy conservator (DyCF) for Nagpur PK Mahajan to remove encroachments in Pachgaon in four days.

“I’m really surprised that why action is being delayed against the accused. There should be no trucks moving through the protected forest,” Ahmed said. He added the officials should immediately file chargesheets against the accused, with a plea for sentence up to an year, Rs2,000 fine and seizing of material.

Courtesy: TIMES OF INDIA

Advertisements