GUWAHATI, July 7 - Even as the BIEO continues its hunt to track down absconding Golaghat DFO RK Das, an accused in the Doigrung sand-mining racket, around 250 staff of the forest department in the district have gone without salaries for the last three months.
The DFO is the drawing and disbursing officer of the department in the district and without his signature the treasury will not entertain any salary bill nor the bank will disburse the payments. Das is absconding since April.
Sources said the forest department had given the DFO of social forestry wing temporary charge of the district about one and half month back.
�After he was given charge about one and half month back, the in-charge DFO had sent the salary bill to the treasury but it was not accepted. The treasury insisted that putting the social forestry DFO in charge was an internal arrangement of the forest department. Unless there is an official order from the government, he cannot be a signing authority in financial matters,� the sources said.
Later, the PCCF�s office wrote to the government citing the problem and seeking appointment of a full-fledged DFO in the district. While RK Das was placed under suspension only recently, Dispur has not yet appointed any full-fledged DFO in his place so far.
The BIEO arrested Golaghat forest range officer Praneshwar Das on July 3, making him the third arrest in the illegal sand mining case after deputy ranger Mukul Ali Hazarika and contractor Abdul Milu.
The investigating agency had registered the case in November last year after a preliminary inquiry conducted by it revealed large-scale anomalies in operation of sand mahals in Golaghat district.
At least three other forest officials and as many contractors are still said to be absconding in the case.