THRISSUR: The documents unearthed by an RTI activist regarding the administrative sanction, purchase order and acceptance letter of a 15-seater boat envisaged for the Shendurney Eco Tourism Project has brought out some embarrassing facts about the maladministration and alleged corruption in the Kerala Forest Department. According to the inspection report of the Accounts and Registers of the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden Thiruvanathapuram, between January 14, 2911 and March 31, 2016, the officials concerned gave the purchase order for SIDCO on 31.03.2015, the same day the state government accorded the administrative sanction for such a boat at a cost not exceeding Rs 38 lakhs.
The inspection report says that as per the store purchase manual, an open tender needed to be issued for any contract worth Rs 10 lakhs and above and the manual was violated by placing such an order. The report further says that though it was mentioned in the agreement with SIDCO, Rs 250 would be imposed as fine for the delay in delivery for each day , strangely, the day of delivery was not mentioned in the agreement to calculate the fine.
RTI activist based in Wayanad, Dharmaraj CS, who brought out this issue in the open, says that such ‘negligence’ occurs when the department was asked to recover Rs 40.54 lakhs over the delay in delivery of a boat meant for the Safari Programme of Neyyar Sanctuary in another boat deal. Finally, the Wildlife Warden signed an acceptance certificate of a 15 seater boat on June 17, 2015 citing the purchase order on March 31, 2015, but, as the boat was not seen anywhere in Shendurney, the officer issued a clarification that it was a typo error by SIDCO and the boat accepted was a 12 seater.
DC which has in possession all these documents, learnt from the activists and sources inside the department that no action has been initiated against the officials who are facing allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the matter as they were close to politicians both in the LDF and UDF. “For the undelivered 15 seater-boat, violating the rules for payment to be done in phases, the department paid almost the full amount,” Dharmarajan added....