Rs 5.42 crore ‘compensation’ valued for trees

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: In a curious move, the Ri-Bhoi district administration in 2010 valued the trees planted and nurtured by the Government at Rs 5.42 crore aimed at handing over the amount to the village illegally.

The argument of the district administration was that the trees were nurtured by the village.

However, an audit observation in this regard said that “in view of fact that the trees on Mawpalai was raised by the Government, the payment of Rs 5,42,95,374 against the trees as valued by DC, Ri-Bhoi is thus irregular.”

Later, the Forest department also raised objection to the release of Rs 5.42 crore.

According to the audit observation, it is apparent that the proposal for the entire scheme and sanction for the same was accorded without in depth exercise in scrutinizing the need of expenditure proposed for each component of the scheme to assess the extend up to which compensation should be made, if any and without ascertaining the status of the land and verifying the owners thereof, to whom compensation is to be paid, if any.

The audit comments further said that since the land is claimed to be owned by the village Durbar and not by any individual person and the DC Ri-Bhoi had already made payment for land acquisition, the queries on how payment for acquisition of land was made without ascertaining the ownership need to be answered.

The audit team also wanted to know from the Forest department the details of acquisition of land like the date of disbursement, name of the recipients and on what capacity did they receive the compensation amount.

Besides, details on the reasons as to why compensation amount has to be disbursed instead of formulating a development scheme which will benefit the village community in the long run was also raised by the audit team.

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