Date palm trees case: Forest Dept report awaited : The Tribune India

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Date palm trees case: Forest Dept report awaited

MLA Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had complained to VB alleging irregularities

Date palm trees case: Forest Dept report awaited

A dried date palm tree along the Majitha Road in Amritsar. Vishal

Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 28

The Vigilance Bureau (VB) has been awaiting a report from the Forest Department on the planting of date palm trees on road dividers and in other key areas of Amritsar by the Municipal Corporation aimed at the beautification of the city.

The Vigilance Bureau has started a probe after former Inspector General of Police (IGP) and now AAP MLA from North constituency, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had raised the issue while alleging gross irregularities and corrupt practices in planting the trees.

Recently, the MLA expressed his dissatisfaction over the slow pace of inquiry in the case while adding that the MC was removing the dried palm trees to derail the Vigilance probe.

“There is more to it than meets the eye,” said a Vigilance official while wishing not to be named. “The climate here does not suit the date palm trees. The place of planting, that is the road dividers, is also questionable,” he added. The Vigilance Bureau has been working on different aspects including the price at which these plants were procured.

Recently, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh circulated a live video while showing several dried palm trees which were allegedly chopped by the authorities. He pointed out that this was objectionable as a Vigilance probe was in progress. The MLA alleged that the MC officials were trying to hide the scam. He pointed out that the central verges were not a suitable place for planting large palm trees. It was an attempt to embezzle the funds, he had alleged.

As many as 175 palm trees were procured for Rs 18 lakh in 2021 and the expenditure on planting them was additional. However, within a short span of time, many palm trees dried. Alleging gross irregularities and corrupt practices in the plantation and maintenance of these trees, Kunwar Vijay Pratap had written a letter to the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, for probe on February 14. The Bureau started a probe into the alleged scam on February 28.

SSP, Vigilance, Varinder Singh said that it would be inappropriate to comment at this point when the investigations were on. He said the probe would be completed soon.

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