Non-recovery of forest staff, loss of Rs 1.83 cr

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Kolkata, Apr 13 (UNI) The West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Limited (WBFDCL) has incurred an unproductive expenditure of Rs 1.83 crores on salaries paid to its employees.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its recently released report for 2006-07, stated that the WBFDCL in 1993 decided to shift 153 of its employees, posted under Kalimpong division, to Darjeeling, either by expanding forest activities or by absorbing them into the Forest Directorate.

The move was initiated after the state government, under the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act 1988, imposed strict restrictions on commercial felling of trees in Darjeeling Forest Division, thus making the WBFDCL unviable.

The employees were transferred to the Forest Department in November 1992, as per state government's order, without finalising the terms and conditions, the report revealed.

The CAG report futher stated that 17 of such employees were posted to the Forest Directorate, Darjeeling, in June 1995. However the Forest Department instructed the WBFDCL to bear the salaries of these employees.

Meanwhile, the state Finance department in February 2001 rejected the forest corporation's claim for reimbursement of salary cost of Rs 15.44 lakhs, from July 1995 to March 1997, following which the corporation had to pay Rs 1.38 crore as salary upto March 2005.

However, the corporation, in April 2005, finally decided to withdraw these employees from the Directorate and deploy them in other offices of its North Bengal Division, thus leading to an additional expenditure of Rs 45.44 lakh from April 2005 to March 2007.

The report further stated that the matter was reported to the government in June 2007 but no reply had been received in this regard so far.

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