Uttarakhand Forest Department has launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) during the last five years.
Uttarakhand Forest Department Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Jai Raj said on Sunday that he has ordered an inquiry into allegations of financial irregularities in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve during the last five years.
“I have ordered the formation of a four-member inquiry committee in this regard, which will submit its report within two months,” he said. HT has a copy of the order issued on Friday (23 October).
It states that an investigation has been ordered following complaints in 2018 by three people related to wildlife issues – Dinesh Chandra Pandey, Rajiv Mehta and Aditya Sharma. Earlier investigations found irregularities in the Motichur range of the RTR. The report in the case was submitted in March 2019 stating that the border had financial irregularities, in particular approving receipts without scrutiny, removing lantana grass, food receipts of patrolling staff and the like.
As per the order of PCCF, when the Range Officers / Forest Officers were asked about the irregularities in the Motichur Range, they said that such things are happening in other ranges of RTR as well. This makes it clear that financial irregularities have been done in the RTR on a large scale in the order.
The four-member inquiry committee constituted by PCCF consists of Additional PCCF (Administration), Chief Conservator of Forests (Personnel), Financial Controller State Forest Department and Honorary Warden RTR.
The RTR, spread over 820 square kilometers, was established in 1983 in three districts of Uttarakhand – Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In April 2015, Rajaji was declared a tiger reserve, becoming the second tiger reserve in the state in the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
The RTR is home to 23 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds. It has 38 tigers, while the entire Rajaji landscape has 52 tigers according to the latest All India Tiger Estimates report.
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