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At least, pay forest-entry fees: CAG Arunachal Pradesh’s environment and forest department came under the Comptroller and Auditor General’s scanner for it’s failure to preserve wildlife. Local tourists with 2,070 vehicles entered the National Project Tiger reserve forest areas without paying entry permit fees. The shortfall is to the tune of Rs 3.44 lakh. A fine of Rs 34.17 crore, though leviable in these cases, had not been levied. The report said 462 people who encroached upon 131 hectares in the core zone of the National Project Tiger( NPT) were not evicted and a fine of Rs 4.22 crore, though leviable, was not levied. The latest CAG report says that because of the delay in the formulation of management plans, besides the government’s inability to tackle encroachment and lack of planning and prioritisation of preservation and conservation measures, the objective of wildlife preservation in accordance with the Wildlife Preservation Act, 1972 and National Wild Life Action Plan (NWLAP)2002-16 had not been achieved. The report was tabled in the Budget session of the Assembly in Itanagar last month. It said management plans for 11 of 12 protected areas had neither been approved by the state government nor submitted to the Centre. Owing to the delay in release of funds by the state government, protected areas’ managers were unable to utilise all the funds leading to savings every year. So, the state government has been deprived of Central assistance worth Rs 4.5 crore. “The department illegally released and utilised Rs 1.19 crore and Rs 88.29 lakh in areas outside the notified elephant reserve. It installed 33 wireless sets, including generators, which remain non-functional. This has led to unfruitful expenditure of Rs 66.33 lakh,”the report said. The CAG, in its criticism of the forest department’s functioning, said that in three protected areas, Rs 66.26 lakh had been spent without executing any work. So, it said, the department’s failure to declare 10 km around protected areas an eco-fragile zone has affected wildlife habitat, including loss of interest to the tune of Rs 46.74 lakh. The report, while recommending early declaration of eco-fragile zones to avoid adverse impact on wildlife habitat, suggested that the state government prepare management plans for timely preservation of pristine flora and fauna of the state. The other recommendations include finalisation of annual plans of the operation to check misuse of funds and strengthen internal control measures. n SB Discussion on this North East Page item Disclaimer: These are Internet generated discussion threads for which the The Statesman has no responsibility. No discussions on this item Other North East Page Feisty
Posted On : 23-4-2007
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