Assam: Probe against IAS officers for creating ruckus at Pobitora sanctuary

Updated on Jan 17, 2023 04:15 PM IST

In the complaint, it was alleged that the officers, who had come to the sanctuary with friends and family, smoked in the jungle (which is not permitted), sat on the bonnet of safari jeeps and created a ruckus.

The Pobitora Jeep Safari Owners’ Association in this regard has written to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Representative Photo)
The Pobitora Jeep Safari Owners’ Association in this regard has written to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Representative Photo)

A departmental enquiry was ordered against two India Administrative Service (IAS) officers for allegedly creating a ruckus and abusing forest officers inside the Pobitora wildlife Sanctuary, outskirts of Guwahati.

The Pobitora Jeep Safari Owners’ Association in this regard has also written to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and sought action against the bureaucrats over the incident that took place on Sunday.

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In the complaint, it was alleged that the officers, who had come to the sanctuary with friends and family, smoked in the jungle (which is not permitted), sat on the bonnet of safari jeeps and created a ruckus.

The letter mentioned that when the jeep drivers and other staffers asked them to step down from the bonnet and stop smoking, the officers verbally abused them.

Smoking, drinking alcohol and getting out of the jeeps during safari inside the wildlife sanctuary is not permitted.

In the letter, the forest officials urged the chief minister to conduct an inquiry and take strong measures against the officers. Copies of the same were also sent to state forest minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, information minister Pijush Hazarika and principal chief conservator of forests MK Yadava.

Nripen Nath, president of the association said, “We have written to the chief minister seeking action against the officers.”

Giving information, Nath said that the two officers were identified as Akash Deep, secretary and commissioner (forest and environment department) and Nitin Khade, chief electoral officer (Assam), however, “their names were not included in the letter to the CM,” said Nath.

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Divisional forest officer (Guwahati wildlife division) Jayashree Naiding confirmed that a departmental inquiry has been ordered into the incident. “I am on leave right now and don’t have the exact details of what happened. Since an internal inquiry is underway, it won’t be right to comment,” she said.

When contacted, Akash Deep termed the allegations baseless and concocted.

“I am surprised how and why these allegations are being labelled. These are totally baseless and fabricated and I have informed my senior officers about the same,” he mentioned.

“During the safari, I found the behaviour of the drivers was impolite and there were some doubts about the fitness of the vehicles. There was no rude interaction between me and the drivers and forest guards,” he added.

Chief electoral officer Nitin Khade did not respond to calls and messages. Forest minister Chandra Mohan Patowary was also not available for comment.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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