GUWAHATI, May 12 - How did officials under the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) exercise the powers of issuing mining permission independently without the approval of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head of Forest Force?
Close on the heels of the Supreme Court banning all mining activities in Karbi Anglong, Aranya Bhavan here has shot off two letters to the Special Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of KAAC seeking answers to some hitherto unanswered questions regarding the murky affairs in the hill district.
�Thirty subjects were transferred to KAAC, including forest. However, mining is not a transferred subject as per the tripartite MoU. As per the Assam Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2013, the PCCF & HoFF is empowered to regulate the mining in respect of minor minerals under Schedule Y throughout the State,� the Conservator of Forest (Headquarters) stated in the letter, questioning how mining permissions were issued by council officials without authority.
The letter also sought the details of mining permission given by the council authorities since 2007, names of the permit holders, quantity issued, revenue realised and the designation of the authority which issued the permissions.
On papers, the last quarry was closed down by the DFO, KAAC in July last year, but stones and other minor mineral were extracted illegally even after that. There were more than 30 illegal mining sites and quarries, and according to the Central Empowered Committee report they were along wildlife corridors and eco-sensitive zones.
The second letter smacks of a major appointment and promotion scam in the council. It states that a deputy ranger was sent on promotion to the council but he could not join as the cadre posts were filled up by giving promotion from the council.
�The PCCF & HoFF is the appointing authority and cadre controlling authority of all Grade III and IV posts in the Forest department. The gradation list of all state sector posts of Grade III and IV are prepared by this office and the roster of all promotions of such staff are also maintained by this office for the whole state,� it stated, pointing to the �irregular promotions�.
The forest department has now sought information regarding the number of posts vacant in the council. It also sought to know if all posts in the council were filled up through recruitment and how the process of recruitment was carried out and with whose approval. The department has sought the information by May 20 next.
There have been many such instances in the past, sources in the forest department say, adding that the number of such irregular appointments and promotions in the council in the last five years could be over 200.