Blaming the former Congress government for the raging forest fires in Uttarakhand, BJP today alleged the that Rawat dispensation didn’t properly utilise the fund provided by the Centre to save forests leading to the current crisis.
“Crores of rupees were sent by the Centre under different heads to save the forests every year but (Harish) Rawat was too busy serving the ends of mining and liquor mafia to utilise them for the purpose.
The previous Congress government alone is to be entirely blamed for a crisis of this scale,” Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt alleged.
Claiming that the issue of a dry winter which could lead to forest fires on a higher scale was raised by the party repeatedly in the state Assembly, he said Rawat paid no attention to the problem.
“Now when the Centre is taking all measures to control the situation, Rawat is trying to divert public attention from his own failures by saying that the Union government did not provide funds,” Bhatt said.
He alleged that for the past four years no work had been done by the state government on fire lines which delimits spread of forest fires or making waterholes for wild animals.
Rs 16 crore were provided to the state government through Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to build waterholes for wildlife but the money remained unspent and Rawat could not produce utilisation certificate.
On the issue of Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker, Govind Singh Kunjwal, rejecting BJP’s petition seeking disqualification of Bhimlal Arya for defying party whip in the state assembly, Bhatt said this kind of verdict was expected from the Speaker.
“The speaker disqualified nine rebel Congress legislators for defying party whip but did not disqualify Arya who was guilty of the same offence,” Bhatt termed the verdict as “partisan” and said the party will challenge it in the court.
The Speaker had yesterday rejected BJP’s petition seeking Bhimlal Arya’s disqualification saying the evidence provide by the party were not adequate.