By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 29 Apr: It may be recalled that two senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers were recently suspended and attached to the Forest Headquarters. It is now learnt that these two officers had allegedly carried out some construction projects which they wrongly claimed were pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An inquiry has revealed that the PMO was not even aware of any such projects and, therefore, the anguish of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Government of Uttarakhand to suspend these officers.
One of them is Additional Chief Forest Conservator JS Suhag and the other is former DFO Kishan Chand. In addition, the Director of Corbett National Park, Rahul, has been attached to the Forest Headquarters.
It may be recalled that construction of the Tiger Safari in the Pakharon Range in the world famous Corbett Tiger Reserve was being claimed by some top officials of the Forest Department as a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though the Prime Minister’s Office was not even aware of it.
The PMO had not even issued any guidelines to the Uttarakhand Government or the forest department in this regard. It is a matter of investigation as to who was behind claiming the project to be a dream project of Modi. It is learnt that PMO has expressed serious objections to such claims and this has led to the suspension of the two very senior IFS officers and transfer of one to Forest Headquarters. No such orders or instructions were issued by the PMO for the construction of a tiger safari in the Pakharon range of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
It is learnt that the then PCCF, Wildlife, had sought information from the Corbett Director regarding any letter related to the PMO’s dream project in this regard, but the Corbett Director could not provide any such information. It is now clear that several illegal activities including illegal felling of trees were carried out using PM Modi’s name. It is also learnt that the PMO has taken very serious note of the developments and has now directed the state to investigate these claims.
Some of the irregularities included construction of the Kandi Road under Corbett Tiger Reserve Park, construction of buildings in Morghatti, the Pakharon forest rest house complex, and construction of a reservoir near Pakharon forest rest house. Apart from this, illegal felling of trees was done for the proposed Tiger Safari in Pakhar. An investigating team of NTCA has also submitted an action taken report. Only 163 trees were to be cut for the construction of the Tiger Safari, but many more were felled according to the investigation.
Apart from this, no scientific, administrative or financial approval was ever taken regarding the construction of the Kandi Road, construction of buildings in Morghatti and Pakhro forest rest house complex, construction of reservoir, tiger safari or felling of trees.
Not only this, a concrete structure was erected there, which was illegal. However, this was later demolished when it became an issue. A large amount of soil was also removed from the area around the Pakhro to Kalagarh patrolling road, which is against the provisions of the Indian Forest Act 1927 and Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
PMO miffed at ‘fake’ PM’s dream projects
By Arun Pratap Singh