Govt sits on HDK's query for three months

Govt sits on HDK's query for three months

The promise of transparent administration by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appears to have gone for a toss going by the “delay” in furnishing the information sought by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Kumaraswamy, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, had sought information on the number of forest offence cases (FOC) filed by the Forest department pertaining to illegal mining.

In his letter despatched on October 11, 2013 to N Sivasailam, Principal Secretary to Forest department, the former chief minister had asked details of the FOCs registered in connection with transportation of illegal ore mined from the forests of Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga during the period 2004-05 to 2010-11. 

He had also sought to know the quantity and value of ore transported out of the forests, the penalty levied on mining companies, action taken by Forest department against entities involved in illegal mining and steps taken against Forest personnel for their inaction. However, there has not been any response to the letter even after three months.

When contacted by Deccan Herald, Kumaraswamy said: “Such information would not have been withheld without directions from the government. The government has time and again failed in keeping up its promise of being transparent. It may also be recalled that the former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde  remarked that this government is no better than the previous BJP government. I will raise several issues in the upcoming Assembly session.”

Sources in the government said the department has been scrambling for information. It is said the department has been unable to compile the list of officers involved, specifically the range forest officers and deputy forest officer who have been let off even from the U V Singh report on illegal mining.

The Opposition leader has now applied under Right to Information (RTI) for the details. He has also sought information pertaining to four mining companies whose files have been allegedly recalled by Siddaramaiah’s office despite opposition by the former Director of Mines and Geology H R Srinivas.

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