Shimla: Reduced royalty rates levied for highly valued timber extracted by Himachal Forest Corporation caused a financial losses of Rs 29.32 Crore to the state exchequer in 2011-12, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report has revealed.
The state auditor has observed that in 11 forest divisions, 188 high lying lots of timber was handed over to the forest corporation for exploitation. The Corporation paid royalty of Rs. 9.89 Crore to the government at the reduced rates applicable to Dodra Kawar areas. This has resulted in under recovery of revenue of Rs. 25.95 Crore and VAT of Rs. 3.36 Crore.
“The rates were reduced rates without authoriziation,” said Satish Loomba, Principal Accountant General, Himachal.
He said, “This classification was done by a non competent Pricing Committee constituted by the Forest Corporation, whereas the state cabinet was only competent for making such a classification.”
Himachal Pradesh Forest Corporation is the sole agency for exploitation of forests in Himachal.
Comptroller and Auditor General has also pulled up the Forest department for laxness in conducting regular inspection of forests.
“The laxity in protecting forests has led to illegal construction of 27 roads measuring 42.9 kilometres and non- realisation of Rs 2.65 Cr as damages, said Loomba.