Misappropriation alleged in Sujala watershed scheme

 The Sujala minor watershed development scheme which evoked a controversy after distributing costly horticulture plants to the public sometime back, is now again in news.
About 5000 acacia saplings which were brought to Shuntikumbri in Samse Gram Panchayat limits for planting, have been thrown haphazardly around the forest there.

Shuntikumbri is a place coming under Kalasa minor watershed development scheme, where only Scheduled Tribe members reside. About 5,000 acacia plants had been brought there five months back for planting. Though the public had urged not to plant acacia but preparations were on for supplying the same. The tribals had also demanded that the works of planting them should be assigned to them. However, the Forest department gave the contract to an outsider.

The villagers alleged that the contractor brought workers from his own place and planted only about 500 saplings, and threw away the rest in the forest. The villagers also informed the same to Samse GP.

Range forest officer Bobanna and Panchayat member Shreyamsa Kumar visited Shuntikumbri on Wednesday. The locals came down heavily on the forest officer for the ongoing malpractice. In the meantime, the contractor who was throwing away the remaining plants was caught by the public.

Bobanna who admitted the malpractice assured that he would make the contractor to plant fresh saplings again with his own money. However the locals continued to express their disappointment.

“The officials are showing a cost of Rs 30 per one plant under Sujala scheme. They are misappropriating lakhs of rupees this way. We don’t want the scheme at all,” they said and added that they would complain to the higher authorities regarding the same.

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