Amid drought, swimming pool built at DFO's residence in Chhattisgarh

Amid drought, swimming pool built at DFO's residence in Chhattisgarh

Amid severe water crises in most parts of Chhattisgarh where 117 tehsils were declared drought-hit, a divisional forest officer (DFO) in the Sukma district of Bastar region has landed into a controversy after a swimming pool was found to be constructed at his official residence.

The forest department has issued a show cause notice to the DFO Rajesh Kumar Chandel seeking his reply within a week.

"A show cause notice has been issued to Chandel seeking his explanation in connection with the construction of swimming pool," Principal Secretary, forest department RP Mandal told PTI.

The officer has been asked to reply on three-four points including the source of fund for the construction of the pool, on whose land it has been constructed, was there any permission sought for it, its utilisation, he said.

Mandal further said if the DFO fails to give a satisfactory response within a week, stringent action will be taken against him.

After the issue came to light, state's Forest Minister Mahesh Gagda said, "The DFO should have dug a pond in the forest rather than build a private pool. He has gone there to work not for luxury."

The minister had directed the principal secretary (forest) to examine the matter.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress party has demanded Chandel's dismissal.
"At a time when the entire state is facing massive water crises, the DFO has constructed swimming pool at his official residence without taking any permission," party's state spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said.

Sukma (located around 450 kms away from here) is an extremely backward area where people hardly get clean drinking water while the officer instead of working on to resolve the issue is busy in wasting the water for his luxury, Trivedi alleged seeking a high-level enquiry into the matter and the dismissal of Chandel.

In 2014, ACB had raided several premises of Chandel when he was posted as DFO, Marwahi (Bilaspur), and unearthed assets disproportionate worth crore rupees to his known sources of income, he claimed.

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