An official reply to an RTI has revealed that the money meant for tiger conservation was used to pay for food, tents, carpets and mementoes, among other things, during former President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the sanctuary in February 2022.
The RTI was filed by Assam-based RTI activist Rohit Choudhury’s petition.
Replying to that Kaziranga field director’s office mentioned that the Rs 1.1 lakh was allegedly diverted from the Kaziranga Tiger Conservation Foundation and spent on various heads such as breakfast, lunch and dinner; renovation of the convention hall, painting, tented accommodation and various purchases that included an air purifier.
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Choudhury wrote to the state chief secretary about the alleged diversion of funds last month, citing the Kaziranga field director’s November 30, 2022, reply to the RTI petition he had filed on May 18.
Besides the 1.1 crore that was spent from the tiger foundation’s corpus on the presidential visit, another Rs 51 lakh was diverted from a general wildlife fund, he further stated.
Reacting immediately on the matter, Assam Forest Minister Chandra Mohan Patowari said his department was ‘looking into’ the alleged misuse of funds for conservation since he came to know about it.
He also hinted at instituting an inquiry into the matter.