Due to a fad of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the treasury of the state government has lost 450 crores. In the guise of registering his name in the Guinness Book of Worlds, Shivraj gave the order to plant 7 crore saplings on the edge of Narmada in a single day in July 2017.
The officials kept refusing, but no objection was entertained in front of the Chief Minister’s fad. Even 30 percent of the plants were not installed and the budget was withdrawn. Kamal Nath government has now taken strict action on this and has directed to register an FIR in the Economic Offenses Investigation Bureau against 6 officials including the then Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and the then Forest Minister Dr. Gaurishankar Shejwar.
State Forest Minister Umang Singhar has openly exposed the Shivraj government in a press conference held on Friday.
He told that the officials kept refusing, but the then Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan kept making alleged false record of planting 7 crore 10 lakh 39 thousand 711 saplings in one day to register name in the Guinness Book. The funny thing is that it was shown to buy so many plants at the rate of 20 rupees to 200 rupees.
Digging for the saplings and their planting and in the name of food and water as well, crores of rupees was extracted. In the government records, 7.10 crore plants were announced at 1 lakh 21 thousand 275 spots, while the Guinness Book of World Records was told that only 2 crore 22 lakh 28 thousand 954 plants were planted in only 5 thousand 540 places. It means that 3 times corruption is already visible. The Forest Minister claims that only 5 to 7 percent of the plants are planted.
Officers give wrong information
The Forest Minister admitted in a press conference that the Forest Department officials give wrong information to the Forest Minister itself of the plantation program under Shivraj’s tenure. He said that on seeking information on plantation in Shahpur zone of Betul, the officials had said that on July 2, 2017, 15625 saplings were planted, out of which 11 thousand 140 saplings are alive.
While on 27 June 2019, the Forest Minister himself inspected the Shahpur zone with senior officials and only 2343 saplings were found alive on the spot. Only 9 thousand 985 pits for plants were dug at this place. He said that strict action is being taken against the officials that are giving wrong information.
Role of IAS AP Srivastava
Interestingly, the role of Additional Chief Secretary level IAS officer AP Srivastava has become important in this whole matter. He was the Principal Secretary of Finance at the time this scandal took place. The financial permissions of the amount of this scam were given by him. Currently Srivastava is the Additional Chief Secretary of the Forest Department. The Forest Minister has instructed him to write a note sheet to the EOW to complain about the scam.