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Earth mafias given free run, State�s revenue loss be damned!

By Correspondent
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JORABAT, March 7 - With illegal hill-cutting activities increasing in the Meghalaya side adjacent to the city, a large number of earth-laden trucks moving without valid documents are allowed easy entry into the city by some corrupt officials of the State Forest department.

An alleged nexus of forest officials, mafias and police has been carrying out such activities for a long time, causing huge revenue losses to Assam. Sources point out that the mafias are hand-in-glove with certain forest officials and the route through which these trucks ply in the city are cleared of all �obstacles� including the checkpoints. These Forest officials generally do not trouble the truckers even as the latter carry out their illegal activities.

It may be mentioned that truckers carrying earth from Meghalaya must pay tax before entering Assam. The tax amounts to Rs 100 against each challan or truck. According to data available, around 100 to 120 trucks are engaged in the earth-cutting and carrying activity at three such sites in the adjacent area inside Meghalaya.

A source who is in the know of the modus operandi of these unscrupulous elements said that a single truck makes eight to 10 trips a day, carrying a single challan for all the trips, or sometimes without it, too, in order to maximise profits.

The two forest beat offices lying close to the excavation sites, through which the trucks operate, are the Khanapara forest beat and the Jorabat forest beat. Both the offices are under the Kamrup East division.

Not less than 800 trips are made through the checkpoint of the Khanapara beat office and about 100 trips towards Sonapur through the checkpoint of the Jorabat office.

The large number of trucks plying through the Khanapara forest beat every day could have fetched a huge amount of revenue for the State, but the lawbreakers move with impunity as the beat officer concerned allegedly turns a blind eye for personal benefits. The beat officer concerned at Jorabat also toes a similar line.

Despite the State Forest Minister�s tough stand against such illegal activities, the mafias allegedly enjoy �protection� from some top government officials. The conscious section of society, therefore, have demanded strong punitive action against the officials involved in the corrupt activities.

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Earth mafias given free run, State�s revenue loss be damned!

JORABAT, March 7 - With illegal hill-cutting activities increasing in the Meghalaya side adjacent to the city, a large number of earth-laden trucks moving without valid documents are allowed easy entry into the city by some corrupt officials of the State Forest department.

An alleged nexus of forest officials, mafias and police has been carrying out such activities for a long time, causing huge revenue losses to Assam. Sources point out that the mafias are hand-in-glove with certain forest officials and the route through which these trucks ply in the city are cleared of all �obstacles� including the checkpoints. These Forest officials generally do not trouble the truckers even as the latter carry out their illegal activities.

It may be mentioned that truckers carrying earth from Meghalaya must pay tax before entering Assam. The tax amounts to Rs 100 against each challan or truck. According to data available, around 100 to 120 trucks are engaged in the earth-cutting and carrying activity at three such sites in the adjacent area inside Meghalaya.

A source who is in the know of the modus operandi of these unscrupulous elements said that a single truck makes eight to 10 trips a day, carrying a single challan for all the trips, or sometimes without it, too, in order to maximise profits.

The two forest beat offices lying close to the excavation sites, through which the trucks operate, are the Khanapara forest beat and the Jorabat forest beat. Both the offices are under the Kamrup East division.

Not less than 800 trips are made through the checkpoint of the Khanapara beat office and about 100 trips towards Sonapur through the checkpoint of the Jorabat office.

The large number of trucks plying through the Khanapara forest beat every day could have fetched a huge amount of revenue for the State, but the lawbreakers move with impunity as the beat officer concerned allegedly turns a blind eye for personal benefits. The beat officer concerned at Jorabat also toes a similar line.

Despite the State Forest Minister�s tough stand against such illegal activities, the mafias allegedly enjoy �protection� from some top government officials. The conscious section of society, therefore, have demanded strong punitive action against the officials involved in the corrupt activities.