Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 14:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found fault with the Odisha government in the diversion of forest land in the state.
The CAG report on the audit of expenditure incurred by the state government in the economic sector for the year ending March 2013, which was placed in the State Assembly here today, has stated that as per the records in 11 forest divisions (from January to March 2013), the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had approved 1348 hectares of forest land from November 2002 to April 2009 in favour of 10 user agencies for non-forestry purposes for which Rs 97.80 crore was to be realised towards NPV (net present value) at revised rates of which the state government has so far collected Rs 73.04 crore from the user agencies.
However, the state government has neither made any effort to realise the balance amount of Rs 24.77 crore and nor has it has cancelled the project approval to the concerned user agencies in the last eight years, the CAG rport has pointed out.
The report also said that the state government, in February this year, had stated that out of Rs 24.77 crore, Rs 2.44 crore has already been deposited by one user agency while in the remaining 10 cases, the defaulting user agencies were being pursued by the concerned Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) and the Forest and Environment department for early deposit of the NPV of Rs 22.33 crore.
The government had also stated that it would take steps against the defaulting user agencies in case of further delay in depositing the NPV, the report added.