RTI - Over Rs. 200 crore spent in Bundelkhand region on plantation in last 6 years
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has shown that the government has spent nearly Rs. 200 crore to plant 16 crore saplings in the Bundelkhand region over the last six years in the district of Banda, Chitrakoot, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun and Jhansi. The information was provided to the applicant following the order of the Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission (SIC). The SIC had issued a penalty warning to the Office of the Chief Conservator of Forest after the third hearing, when the applicant had approached the Commission following non-suppy of information.
There has been a suspicion that all the money has not actually been spent on plantation. Wherever the plantation has taken place, lack of follow-up has caused the death of the saplings. As per the reply provided under the RTI Act, the number of saplings planted in the districts between 2005 -11 was as under:
- Banda (378,4000 saplings)
- Chitrakoot and Mahoba, (4,3772,443 saplings each)
- Hamipur (1,673,3780 saplings)
- Jalaun (986,5952 saplings costing Rs.43 crore)
- Jhansi (4,500,9461 saplings costing Rs. 54 Crore i.e. though more than double the amount was spent at Hamirpur, the number of saplings planted in Jhansi was not even half that of Hamirpur).
According to the national forest policy, the forest cover should be at least 33% of the area while the average forest cover in UP region of Bundelkhand region is merely 7.26%. The revelation raises serious questions over the plantation drives taking place in larger part of the country.