Udaipur : Despite clear cut norms by the central and state government on regulating commercial and industrial activities within one kilometer distance from protected areas of wildlife sanctuaries, authorities have been manipulating provisions to give undue advantage to influential persons and kin of politicians.
One such case of unlawful issuance of NOC by the forest department for land conversion on an application put up by Jugal Kishore, son of Pali Ex-MP Badri Ram Jakhad was exposed after an activist sought details under the provisions of the RTI Act. However, fearing their act might be caught, the forest department hurriedly issued a clarification terming it a ‘confusion’ and thereby withdrawing the NOCs granted to all applicants during 28 May to 8th June,2020.
JugalKishore, the exMP’s son had written to the DCF , Rajsamand on 29 May,2020 seeking NOC for commercial conversion of his land located on Ranakpur road, just 60 meters from the protected limits of Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary. In this connection, it may be recalled that the state government by its order dated 13.5.16 had laid restrictions on all commercial and industrial activities in one km zone from the boundaries of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Kumbhalgarh sanctuary and Jawai Leopard conservation reserve.
The government had prohibited conversion of the land by revenue authorities in the areas under the said limit. However, by another order passed on 25.2.2020, the state government withdrew the earlier restrictions. Taking advantage of the relaxed norms, the ex parliamentarian’s son applied for an NOC to the forest department for commercial conversion of his land falling under Rajsamand district.
DCF Fateh Singh Rathore granted the NOC vide a letter 2020/2984 dated 2June, 2020 referring to the order of withdrawal of restrictions by the government in February. However Rajendra Singh Sameeja, an activist put up an RTI query seeking details regarding NOC granted to Jugal Kishore on June 15. On the very next day, the DCF issued another order announcing withdrawal of all NOCs for land conversion, issued by the office between 28 May to 8 June, stating that despite withdrawal of restrictions by the government in the February order, the constraint on 1km zone remains in effect.
“The politicians are conniving with the authorities and misusing their power and influence in the government to get undue benefits. A fair and impartial probe should be held by an independent agency to find out how many such illegal sanctions have been granted across the state by taking advantage of the relaxed norms” Sameeja said.