Wildlife CF refutes corruption charges
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 22
Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Kocha Meyase on Saturday refuted allegations that Forest officials, along with the Minister of Forest, had indulged in corrupt dealings while allotting wagons to timber traders of Nagaland. Meyase, in a press statement today, claimed that the allegations – labeled by the Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) and its district affiliates of Dimapur, Kohima, Peren and Phek – were “malicious, defamatory, false and unfounded” which had been made “purely with an intention to defame and tarnish the image of the Forest Minister and the DFO in particular, and the department in general.”
The NTTU had on Thursday last alleged that Forest Minister Y Patton had sold off timber trade license to non-registered Naga tree framers, mostly non-Naga businessmen based in Dimapur, “at the rate of Rs 3 lakh per wagon.” It had also alleged the DFO Dimapur of collecting money (selling of tree felling wagons) on behalf of the Forest Minister, the amount which was “submitted to the Minister on September 18, 2013.”
“It is clarified that the wagons are allotted by the department as per the guidelines of the SIT duly constituted by the Supreme Court of India,” he claimed while underscoring that “registered Transporters and Tree Farmers are considered for allotment of wagon, provided they cleared all government dues enforced by the Government of Nagaland.”
He further pointed out that the timber have to be converted in HPC Unit after which it is undergoes a screening and physical verification process before finalizing the allotment of wagons. “As such, without confirming (sic) to the guidelines, the question of depriving the Naga Tree farmers and plantation owners of their rights and the cost of their sweat and hard labor does not arise.”
On the alleged transaction of “collection money” between the Minister of Forest and the DFO Dimapur, Meyase said the authorization for allotment of wagon given to DFO Dimapur was done by the government a month after the alleged incident.
“It is pertinent to mention herein that the department had earlier allotted some wagons to of the members of the so-called NTTU, however , the allottees failed to meet the required criteria thereby resulting in lapse of such allotted wagons and causing a loss to government revenue.
“Therefore, any aggrieved party/parties may come to the Divisional Forest Office Dimapur during office hours so as to clarify the matter before going to the press,” read the statement from the Conservator of Forest (Wildlife).
Meanwhile allegations against the Minister of Forest, Y Patton by the NTTU of indulging in corrupt practice by way of selling off timber trade license to non-registered Naga tree framers at the rate of Rs 3 lakh per wagon