In order to check illegal transportation of minor minerals and other forest produce, the Forest Department had established 58 check-gates in the State for regulating and controlling the export of minor minerals and other forest produce.
As per monthly returns furnished to the Range Forest Office, Byrnihat by the in-charge of the check-gate during the year 2020-21, as many as 9,778 vehicles carrying minor minerals had passed through four check-gates at Kiling, Maikhuli, Barapathar and 9th Mile under Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial), Shillong and 4,268 vehicles passed through one check-gate (Dhanua check-gate) under Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial), Tura during 2019-21.
However, according to the CAG report on revenue sector which was tabled in the Assembly last week, the information furnished in January 2022 by the two DFOs on the number of vehicles carrying minor minerals and those passing through these check-gates did not match.
The CAG report also revealed that a total of 14,046 vehicles had actually passed through the five check-gates.
However, as per records of the two DFOs, only 18 vehicles had passed through these check-gates.
The Forest Department in March 2023 stated that the number of vehicles passing through the check-gate is based on the information/records submitted by the concerned Range Forest Officer (RFO) and as such, the number of vehicles as per the RFO records should be considered.
“The reply of the department indicates that there was no system of information exchange between the RFOs and the DFOs concerned. Moreover, it also shows that the DFOs (T) did not have any system to verify the actual number of vehicles passing the check-gates with the number of transport challans issued the office of DFOs (T),” the CAG report said.