The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has no record of the type or the number of trees in the botanical garden of its estate area.
A report by the Comptroller Auditor General for 2015-2016 tabled in the Assembly said “the unavailability of tree stock register for the entire TNAU campus is a serious lapse” on the part of the estate committee, the custodian of trees on the campus.
The Department of Floriculture and Landscaping maintains the trees in the garden and is assigned the job of pruning, cutting and uprooting the trees. During the verification of the auction registers of the department, the audit team found that “on the request of various departments and the TNEB and further on the recommendation of the Estate Committee trees were either pruned or uprooted.”
The proceeds from the sale of these uprooted trees and branches were deposited in the department’s account. But neither the Estate Committee nor the department maintained a register of the number of trees cut, removed and uprooted with date and its approval, making it “impossible to verify and ascertain the income realised through auction,” the report has said.
It urged the university to get a ratificaton from the board of management for the lapse and produce the recommendations and decision of the Estate Committee.
The audit report cites several instances of mismanagement of funds at the university. In the past 32 years of existence, it amassed Rs. 29,47,22,503 worth of audit objections. In 2015-16, the objections were to the tune of Rs. 3,71,56,516. The violations include irregularities in remitting/calculating income tax, non-taxation of leave salary above Rs. 30,000 and excess claim as travel allowance. TNAU officials, however, said they were not aware of such violations.
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