This Week Jharkhand: Forces take up tourist space,asked to pay

Forest officials in the Palamau Tiger Reserve are fuming at the way security forces have been carrying out operations against Naxals

Written by Manoj Prasad | Published: April 17, 2012 12:30 am

Forces take up tourist space,asked to pay

Forest officials in the Palamau Tiger Reserve are fuming at the way security forces have been carrying out operations against Naxals. They have set up camp there since March 30,occupying not only the forest guesthouse but also four cottages,two tree-houses,a 10-bed dormitory,and a canteen too. The forces had not taken permission to occupy these facilities meant for tourists,forest officials complain,having forwarded a bill for Rs 750,000 to the SP,Latehar Kranthi Kumar,under whose jurisdiction falls the reserve that is home to species such as deer,bison,elephant and tigers. “The bill is based on the tariff we charge from the tourists,” said DFO Premji Anand. The SP has so far preferred not to react to the bill.

Well begun is not done

Under the Saranda Development Plan that Union minister Jairam Ramesh launched last year for villagers in Saranda forest,a Maoist stronghold,eight hand-pumps were installed at Chhotanagra on December 2. Four months on,not a drop of water has come out of any one of these pumps. Though installed instantly to mark the function,the pumps had not been sunk deep enough to fetch water,it now transpires. So tribals continue to fetch water from far-flung wells and rivulets while the state administration is still trying to fix responsibility. “We are trying to find out which department implemented it,” said Prince Minz,BDO.

Help at hand,no takers

Having visited Patna and Chennai,anti-corruption body Transparency International India has arrived in Jharkhand and launched an initiative for legal assistance to victims of corruption. A toll-free cell number,9334402323,will enable complainants to contact volunteers who,Transparency promises,will record the complaint,prepare a draft and file a petition with the concerned authority,and follow that up. The CBI had launched a similar move last month,and it was widely publicised. No one has,however,come forward yet to lodge a complaint with the CBI,while the just launched Transparency helpline too is waiting for its first complaint.

Betting racket

Jharkhand’s cricket fans are apparently participating in the IPL. Police claimed to have cracked a gambling racket with the arrest of seven men,whom they described as bookies,in Jamshedpur. The alleged bookies used mobile phones and the internet to float and accept bets. Those who participated and won were paid through agents in Jamshedpur and Saraikela,Ghatshila,Adityapur and Chandil in West Singhbhum district,police said. They have been charged with cheating and gambling and under the Information Technology Act. The police recovered Rs 80,000,a dozen mobile phones and a laptop.

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