Protest against Forest Department

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Scores of people staged a protest against Forest Division Tangmarg alleging that the officials of the department are reluctant to divulge to information about the department and are demanding money from the clients in exchange of information under RTI Act.

Reports said that scores of people amid anti-Forest Department slogans assembled out-side the official residence of DFO Tangmarag on Thursday. The protestors alleged that Department is reluctant to provide information under Right to Information Act.

According to reports, last month a person namely Muhammad Shafi Mir son of Abdul Rehman had filed an application under RTI seeking information regarding timber sanctions in Forest Division Tangmarag. However, the Department instead of divulging information allegedly demanded bribe from the applicant. Muhammad Shafi told reporters that he had filed an application seeking information about the sanctions from 2010 onwards for Halqa Hariwatnoo, “but instead of giving any information I was told to pay Rs. 1,20,000 as documentation and Photostat charges. If such a huge amount is to be paid by a common man like me what is the fun of this Act then,” he said alleging that from past one year the Forest Department is forcing him wander from one office to another for his timber sanction.

The protestors alleged that Forest Division Tangmarag supply timber to only influential people. “Without having influence and approach you can’t get the timber from the department. I was also denied timber as I am lacking any political approach,” another protestor Ghulam Rasool told CNS seeking the intervention of Forest Minister.

District Forest Officer, Mehboob Ali told CNS that the Department only charged documentation and Photostat expenditure from the applicant. “We have not demanded any bribe from the applicant,” he said adding that timber will be supplied only from April 1st next year as all the quota has been exhausted.

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