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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Forest minister says no bungling in tree plantation on Narmada bank

When in Opposition Congress had alleged a huge corruption in plantation of saplings along banks of Narmada river carried out in July 2017 but on Monday the Congress government’s forest minister Umang Singhar denied any bungling in the same

bhopal Updated: Feb 18, 2019 22:51 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
(HT File photo)
         

When in Opposition Congress had alleged a huge corruption in plantation of saplings along banks of Narmada river carried out in July 2017 but on Monday Congress government’s forest minister Umang Singhar denied any bungling in the plantation.

On Monday, Singhar said in a written reply submitted to the state assembly on Monday during its budget session to an unstarred question from Congress MLA Dabbu Siddharth Kushwaha, “Ma Narmada nadi ke kinaare vriksharopan/paudharopan me rajya shashan dwara vartmaan tak kisi rashi ke khurd burd ka anumaan nahi mana gaya hai (The state government has not seen so far any embezzlement in the amount (spent) on saplings/tree plantation on the bank of Narmada river).”

Kushwaha’s question was how much money was spent by forest department on sapling/tree plantation on Narmada river banks from July 2 to the date of question submitted and how much amount was embezzled in the same in the government’s assessment.

The then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had led a Narmada Seva Yatra from December 11, 2016 to May 15, 2017 after which more than six crores saplings were planted within 12 hours on July 2, 2017 on Narmada banks as per the authorities claims at that time. The government even made efforts to get its ‘feat’ entered into Guinness Book of World Records.

While Congress had accused the then BJP government of indulging in huge corruption in the name of tree plantation on Narmada banks religious leaders Swami Namdev Tyagi alias Computer Baba and Mahant Yogendra announced a yatra along Narmada to expose what they alleged a huge corruption in the plantation. This was followed by the then state government granting a minister of state status to five religious leaders including Computer Baba and Mahant Yogendra to work on Narmada conservation.

After his Narmada parikrama (circumambulation of Narmada river) last year former chief minister Digvijaya Singh had said he didn’t see the saplings on Narmada banks as was claimed by the state government. Several other leaders spoke in similar vein. It was a major issue raised by the Congress in the run-up to the state assembly elections held in November last year.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “The forest minister’s written reply submitted in the state assembly corroborates our charges that the Congress wanted to grab power by dishing out lies before public. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath should tender apology to people of Madhya Pradesh and BJP for telling lies to people during the state assembly elections.”

The forest minister couldn’t be reached for his comments despite efforts.

State Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “There is no denying the fact that there was a huge corruption in the plantation on Narmada banks. Congress stands by its charges in this regard. It appears the government officers are furnishing false information on the questions asked in the state assembly. The party will look into this”