Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Umang Singhar on Friday, 11 October 2019, disclosed that his department has detected a huge Rs. 4.5 billion tree plantation scam linked to the announcement by the former Chief Minister Shivraraj Singh to plant 50 million trees in the Narmada basin and its implementation by the forest and few other departments in the year 2017 to meet the goal of creating the Guinness World Record.
At a press conference here the Forest Minister said that it takes two years to prepare the saplings for tree plantation and beats imagination how the then government headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to go ahead with such an impractical announcement.
Even on the surface it smacks of conspiracy and corruption, Singhar said adding that inspection by him at the ground level in Betul district has revealed that only a fraction of the target has been met. He alleged huge bungling and said that saplings worth Rs. 20 have been purchased at even a high rate of Rs. 200. He did not rule out large-scale bungling and said there is evidence that a large part of the tree plantation drive was only on paper.
The Minister told media-persons that a compliant against the concerned officers and others responsible has been lodged with the State Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The Government is determined to bring the culprits to book and hold them accountable.