RTI activist seeks probe in ‘misuse’ of funds meant for tree plantation in Punjab

An RTI activist and petitioner, who had challenged deforestation in Punjab before National Green Tribunal (NGT), has now written to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and demanded a probe in the alleged misuse of Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds, meant for tree plantation in the state.

Dr Amandeep Aggarwal, in a complaint emailed to Amarinder and principal chief conservator of forests Jatinder Sharma on Tuesday, alleged that the department of forests and wildlife preservation spent around Rs 86 lakh on senior advocates to defend deforestation in the state before the NGT and the Supreme Court (SC) from July 2016 to August 2017.

“I have obtained these facts through an RTI query. The CAMPA funds were misused by the department which should have been spent on tree plantation in the state” said Dr Aggarwal.

“The Punjab forest department had been apparently throwing all guidelines to winds by utilising these CAMPA funds to pay hefty fees to senior advocates in its legal battle in the NGT and the SC to defend and justify the deforestation and irregularities in the afforestation,” he wrote in his complaint.

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