Bhubaneswar, March 11 (LocalWire): Only 20 percent of vehicles obtained by the Odisha forest department are worthy of patrolling duties, the rest are luxury cars used by officers and ministers for general commute, an RTI data shows.
The department regularly demands vehicles for patrolling and compensatory afforestation duties, but it ends up obtaining cars like Innova, or Toyota Crysta, which can’t be operated in jungles.
All the luxurious vehicles are used by senior officers based in Bhubaneswar and Circle HQ who never carry out patrolling duties, says RTI petitioner Biswajit Mohanty.
“Purchase of a new vehicle is provisioned in CAF. However, of all vehicles under its custody, only 20% are jeeps and motorcycles which can actually be used in forest, or climb hills.
“Also, every DFO has at least 2-3 government vehicles at his disposal, therefore there’s no need for a luxury vehicle for supervision,” he alleged.
The RTI, dated December 10, 2018, further shows that a Toyota Crysta car donated by a steel company last year for a forestry work, is currently being used by Forest Minister Bijoyshree Routray.
“He does not hold any patrolling experience, nor can his car ride on rough roads,” he said.
“Forest officials cannot be expected to enforce laws if they use vehicles gifted by mining companies,” he alleged.