Assam Sale of Forest Produce, Coupes and Mahals Rules, 1977
Published vide Notification No. FRS 586/77, dated 16-17-1977, published in the Assam Gazette, Part 2A, dated 5-4-1978
(a) "Governor" means the Governor of Assam;
(b) "Government" means the Government of Assam ;
(c) "Conservator" means the Conservator of Forests and includes Chief Conservator of Forests also ;
(d) "Divisional Forest Officer" means the Divisional Forest Officer of a territorial or non-territorial Forest Division ;
(e) "Contractor" means the contractor registered as such under the Forest Department:
(f) "Mahaldar" means the Mahaldar registered as such under the Forest Department or in the office of the Chief Conservator of Forest or in any of the circle offices or division offices;
(g) "Coupe" means a compact area wherein a number of trees are premarked for sale;
(h) "Mahal" means a well defined area wherefrom certain types of forest produce are sold ;
(i) "Lot" means a collection of forest produce meant for disposal;
(j) "Forest produce" means "forest produce" as defined under Section 4 (a) and (b) of the Assam Forest Regulations 7 of 1891.3. Mode of sale. - The forest produce shall be sold by any of the following methods :
(1) By inviting tender ;
(2) By public auction :Provided that the State Government in the Forest Department may settle a Mahal by negotiation with the intending parties or purchasers giving them opportunity to make offers of negotiation, if offer for a particular Mahal is not received by inviting tender or by public auction by putting sale notices consecutively for three times within a period of 6 (six) months or if the concerned Divisional Forest Officer, fails to put such sale notice consecutively for three times within a period of 6 (six) months.
Sale by Tender System4. Notice for tender. - Brief advertisement inviting tender (Tender Notice) for sale of Mahal/Timber lots containing the names of the Mahals/lots, Areas of the Mahal/quantity of timber, period of the lease/settlement which shall not exceed two years alongwith the date, time and venue for receipt of tenders, shall be published in the "Local daily newspapers" for at least consecutive two days by the Divisional Forest Officer at least one month prior to the last date fixed for submission of tender stating that the details of the Mahals/lots and other terms and conditions shall be available in the sale notice, which can be procured from the offices of the Divisional Forest Officer during office hours of any working day on payment of Rs. 50.00 (Rupees fifty) per copy of the sale notice : Provided that for resale of any Mahal or timber lot, publication of short sale notice at least fifteen days before the last date of receipt of the tender shall be made which may or may not be published in the newspapers. 5. The notice for sale shall be given as per Form at Appendix I. resale, publication in Gazette will not be necessary. 6. Earnest money. - (1) Before submission any tender, the tenderer shall deposit, in the treasury or in any branch of an approved Scheduled Bank, an earnest money (as fixed by the Conservator) by bank draft/treasury challan for each coupe or mahal pledged to the officer calling for tender. (2) The earnest money shall be reduced by 50 per cent in case the tenderer belongs to any of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, or the Backward Classes recognised by the State Government on production of caste certificate issued by the D.C. and Additional D.C. or the S.D.O. or S.D.C. concerned. 7. Tender and its enclosures. - (1) There shall a be separate tender for each coupe or mahal or lot with the requisite court fee affixed to it. (2) Each tender shall be in the tender Form as prescribed in Appendix II. (3) The tenderer shall also state in the tender the price which he offers to pay. (4) He shall also make a declaration as follows :
"I agree that I will not withdraw the tender offered by me during the time that will be required for intimation of acceptance of the tender for coupe/mahal being given to me ; nor will I withdraw it afterwards, should my tender be accepted. If I withdraw the tender, then I am liable to the whole sum of the tender or such amount on account of deficiency as in the opinion of the Conservator of Forests, or the Government of Assam, as the case may be, considered necessary to make good the whole of the loss and damages that may be suffered by Government in consequence thereof, and I shall pay the same, and if I fail to pay it, then it will be recovered from me as arrear of land revenue."(5) The tender shall be accompanied by the following documents :
(i) A copy of the treasury challan or a bank draft evidencing deposit of earnest money as stipulated in the sale notice ;
(ii) Up-to-date income tax and sales tax clearance certificate ;
(iii) Original or certified copy of the registration certificate of the tenderer issued by the appropriate authority of the Forest Department;
(iv) If a tender is submitted on behalf of a Cooperative Society, or a partnership firm or a joint stock company, then in addition to the requirement of (i), (ii) and (iii) above the copy of the resolution authorising the person who signs the tender or manager the business of such society, firm or company on its behalf, and undertake the liabilities as a tenderer on behalf of the society, firm and company. In case of co-operative society a certificate from local Co-operative Officer (not below the rank of Assistant Registrar of Co- operative Societies) about the composition of society and its genuineness and financial condition. In case of a firm also a certified copy of the registration certificate granted by the Registrar of Firms under the Indian Partnerships Act and authorisation to one of the partners to act shall have to be furnished.8. Procedure for dealing with tenders. - (1) Immediately after the closure of the tender time for receipt of tenders the Divisional Forest Officer shall indicate time and date when the tenders shall be opened. (2) After the scrutiny of the tenders, the order for acceptance of any tender shall be passed by the respective competent authorities whose competency shall be according to the delegation of financial powers under the Assam Delegation of Financial Rules, 1960. According to the present delegation of power the D.F.O. can accept tender up to Rs. 25,000. C.C.F can accept tender up to Rs. 1,00,000. A.C.F. can accept tender up to more than Rs. 1,00,000. Government in Forest Department have the full power or have the full residuary powers of withdrawal of settlement or otherwise not repugnant in these rules. (3) Where, according to the limit of financial power under the Delegation of Financial Powers Rules, 1960, the officer receiving the tenders is not competent to pass order of acceptance of tender; he shall forward the tender papers with his comments to his next higher authority for necessary action. (4) The order of acceptance of tender by the appropriate authority as mentioned in sub-rule (2) above shall be communicated by the Divisional Forest Officer to the successful tenderer giving the latter 15 days' time for depositing the first kist: Provided that the Divisional Forest Officer shall not accept the first kist if an appeal is filed by any of the unsuccessful tenderers within the 15 days' time. 9. Appeal and review. - (1) An appeal shall lie within 15 days from the date of communication of the order of acceptance of tender by the Divisional Forest Officer as follows :
(a) against the order of acceptance of tender by the Divisional Forest Officer-to the conservator whose order in appeal shall be final;
(b) against the order of acceptance of tender by the Conservator of Forests and the C.C.F. - to the Governor, whose order in appeal shall be final.
(c) a petition shall lie with the Governor for review of his original order within 15 days from the date of communication of the order of acceptance of tender as provided under Rule 8 (4) but no petition for review of appellate order of Governor shall lie;
(d) all review petitions against the order of settlement shall lie before Government within 30 days of settlement order of C.F. and C.C.F. as the case may be.(2)(a) The appeal or the review petition, as the case may be, shall be submitted in triplicate, two copies of which shall be submitted to the appellate or reviewing authority and one copy shall be simultaneously sent by the appellant or the petitioner to the Divisional Forest Officer direct. The requisite court fee stamp need be affixed only on the principal copy.
(b) The Divisional Forest Officer on receipt of the copy of the appeal or review' petition shall immediately stay the order issued under Rule 8 (4) and forward the appeal or review petition alongwith the original tenders and other connected documents to the Conservator who shall dispose of the appeal which lies with him under sub- clause (l)(a) above and forward the appeal and/or review petition to the Government if the same lies with the Governor under sub-Clause (1) (b) and (c) above.10. No obligation to accept the highest or any tender. - The highest tender will generally be accepted but it shall not be obligatory on the part of the settling authority to accept the highest or any tender. Maximum number of coupes that one party may get should be not more than 5. 11. Preference and concession in settlement with tenders belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, or other Backward Classes. - (1) Subject to suitability and ability of the tenderer to perform the work satisfactorily, preference and concession in settlement of a coupe or mahal shall be admissible in the following manner to a person belonging to any of the Scheduled Casts, Scheduled Tribes, or other Backward Classes recognised by the State Government, provided the recognised highest offer for the coupe or the mahal does not exceed Rs. 50,000 :
(a) If the offer from a member of the above mentioned categories of persons is not below 92-½ per cent of the recognised highest offer, the coupe or the mahal shall be settled with such person at his own offer;
(b) Even if the offer from a member of the afore- mentioned categories of persons is below 92-½ per cent of the recognished highest offer, the coupe or the mahal may at the discretion of the competent authority be settled with such person at an amount 7-½ per cent less than the recognished highest offer.(2) The preference and the concession shall also be admissible in the following manner to a co-operative society, provided not less than 80 per cent of the members thereof are persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or other Backward Classes and provided the recognished highest offer for the coupe or the mahal does not exceed Rs. one lakh :
(a) If the offer from the above mentioned co-operative society is not below 90 per cent of the recognised highest offer, the coupe or the mahal shall be settled with such co-operative society at its own offer ;
(b) Even if the offer from the co-operative society is below 90 per cent of the recognised highest offer, the coupe or the mahal may, at the discretion of the competent authority, be settled with such co-operative society at an amount 10 per cent less than the recognised highest offer;
(c) As between individual members of the categories mentioned in sub-rule (1) above and a co-operative society mentioned in this sub-rule, the co-operative society shall be given preference over the individuals.(3) No preferential treatment and concession as mentioned in (1). and (2) above shall be admissible when the recognised highest offer for the coupe or the mahal exceeds Rs. 50,000 or Rs. one lakh, as the case may be. 12. No joint settlement. - (a) No coupe or mahal shall be sold jointly with more than one person except in the case of a co-operative society or a firm or a joint stock company duly registered in the office of the appropriate registering authority in Assam.
(b) Deconcentration of opportunities. - No person shall be settled with more than five coupes/mahals at any time. If any person is found to get settlement of more than five coupes/mahals at any given time he shall have to surrender all the excess coupes/mahals retaining only five coupes and mahals to his choice. The surrendered coupes/mahals shall be immediately resold at such person's risk.13. Non-acceptance of tender of a defaulter. - No tender of a mahaldar or contractor or co-operative society or firm who is a defaulter in respect of any Government dues of any land or forest revenue shall be entitled to get settlement. 14. Security deposit. - (1) The tenderer whose tender has been finally accepted shall be informed by the Divisional Forest Officer about the amount of security to be adjusted from his fixed security deposit for the couple or mahal. (2) (i) The amount of such security shall be at the amount at which the coupe or mahal is sold, subject to a minimum of Rs. 100.
(ii) 5 per cent on the amount in excess of the first Rs. 2,000 subject to a minimum of Rs. 200.
(iii) In case of a tender belonging to any of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes or other Backward Classes, the amount of security deposit mentioned in sub-rule (2) (i) above shall be reduced by 50 per cent.
(iv) If the whole amount of fixed deposit is adjusted against the security of a particular coupe or mahal and if the security exceeds the fixed deposit, the amount fell short of and the amount of fixed deposit shall have to be deposited before communication of the final order of acceptance of tender.15. Instalments. - The sale value of the mahal or coupe shall be paid by the mahaldar or contractor in the following manner :
(1) Where the mahal or coupe period is for one year, in four equal instalments at an interval of not more than 3 months each, the first instalment falling within 15 days from the date of issue of order of final acceptance of the tender.
(2) Where the mahal or coupe period is for less than one year, in two equal instalments the first instalment falling due on the same period as mentioned in sub-rule (1) above and the third instalment not less than one month before the expiry of the mahal or coupe period.
(3) Where the mahal or coupe period is for more than one year, the total amount payable for each year shall be paid in four equal instalments at an interval of not more than 3 months each, the first instalment of the first year falling due within the period as mentioned in sub-rule (1) above and the first instalment in succeeding year falling due at the beginning of each year.16. Agreement. - An agreement as in Form in Appendix shall be executed within one week of the payment of the first instalment and security money as mentioned in Rule 15, by the mahaldar or contractor whose tender has finally been accepted by the competent authority. 17. Cancellation and resale for failure to pay security and instalments and to execute agreement. - If the tenderer whose tender has been accepted fails to pay the security or to pay the instalment on due dates mentioned in Rule 15 or to execute the agreement mentioned in Rule 16, the sale of the coupe or the mahal shall be liable to be cancelled and the coupe or the mahal shall be resold for the remaining part of the coupe or mahal period at the risk of such tenderer as regards the loss to Government and if the proceeds one re-sale are less than the value at which it was originally sold, the difference shall be realisable from him: and further, the earnest money shall be forfeited and the whole of the fixed security deposit or part thereof as may be necessary, shall be adjusted against the dues. 18. Mode of realisation of arrears of sale value. - Any amount due under these rules shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue. 19. Power of attorney. - No power of attorney or mortgage deed or any encumbrance shall be recognised in respect of the coupe or the mahal except when executed with previous permission in writing from the authority competent to pass order of acceptance of tender under sub-rule (2) of Rule 8. 20. Right of withdrawal of any coupe or mahal from sale. - Government in Forest Department and the authority competent to accept tender shall have the right to withdraw any coupe or mahal from sale at any time before issue of final order of acceptance of tender or otherwise by negotiation. 21. Term of the Mahal. - (1) The mahal shall be allowed to be operated strictly for the period as advertised in the Notice inviting tender and the Sale Notice. However, the term of the Mahal shall automatically expire in case the stipulated quota is exhausted before the expiry of the mahal period. (2) As regards the stipulated quota of the mahal materials, any quantity remaining unextracted within the mahal period shall automatically belong to the Government after expiry of the advertised mahal period and no claim of the settlement holder on the same shall be entertained. (3) In case the settlement holder is not able to operate the Mahal for certain periods within the settled term of the Mahal, for reasons beyond his control, such periods, may be provided to him in addition to the Mahal period, but not exceeding a total of 3 months, by the principal Chief Conservator of Forests. The Mahaldar, in every such case shall apply to the Divisional Forest Officer concerned within 7 days of each occurrence. The Divisional Forest Officer shall submit a report in the matter through the concerned Conservator of Forests for consideration.
Sale by Auction System22. Forest coupes/mahals/lots or any other forest produce estimated valuation of which does not exceed Rs. 1,000 that in the opinion of the Divisional Forest Officer requires immediate disposal shall be sold by auction amongst the registered forest contractors and mahaldars in the following manner : A proclamation for auction sale shall be published not less than 15 days before the date fixed for auction stating therein-
(a) the name of the coupe or mahal or lot of any other forest produce ;
(b) the particulars necessary for its identification ;
(c) the period for which it is proposed to be sold ;
(d) the date and place of auction ;
(c) the officer who will hold the auction.23. Manner of publication of proclamation. - The proclamation shall be published by pasting copies thereof on the notice boards of the office of-
(i) the Conservator, the Divisional Forest Officer and the Range Officer ;
(ii) the Deputy Commissioner, the Sub-Divisional Officer and the Sub-Deputy Collector; and
(iii) the Mohkuma Parishad within whose local limits the coupe or the mahal is situate.24. Manner of conducting the sale. - (1) The auction sale shall be held by the Divisional Forest Officer or some officer deputed by him not below the rank of A.C.F. for the purpose. (2) The D.F.O. may postpone the auction sale on reasonable grounds but shall in such case, issue fresh proclamations in the manner of Rule 23 above, publishing the new date fixed. (3) On the date fixed for auction, the D.F.O. or the Officer authorised to hold the auction shall call for the bids from registered contractors present: Provided that if there is no bid or insufficient bid, he may continue the sale from day today informing the bidders on the spot. (4) The Officer holding the auction shall indicate by striking a hammer on the table, the closure of the sale of a particular coupe, mahal or any other forest produce in the auction. (5) The auction shall be closed in favour of the highest bid which is received and final sale shall be made with the highest bidder subject to the production of the document at sub-rules (ii), (iii) and (iv) of Rule 7. (6) If the highest bid received exceeds the limit of financial power delegated to the officer conducting the auction the procedure as is laid down in Rule 8 (3) of Part I of these rules shall be followed. 25. No appeal shall lie against the sale with the highest bidder in any auction. 26. Mode of payment of bid value. - The person declared to be the auction purchaser at an auction sale shall be required to pay immediately on the spot 50 per cent of sale value and if he fails to do so the coupe or the mahal or lot shall forthwith be again put up and sold. The remaining 50 per cent of the sale value shall have to be paid immediately before lifting the forest produce or issue of work order as may be directed by the Divisional Forest Officer. 27. The provisions of Rules 7 (4) (ii), (iii) and (iv), 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 shall equally be applicable in the sale of auction system. 28. Savings. - (t) Notwithstanding any of the provisions contained in these rules, the Government of Assam in Forest Department reserve the right to settle or dispose of any forest produce in the form of mahal, coupes or by direct negotiations or in any other manner at its discretion, otherwise than mentioned in these rules in public interest or in accordance with provisions of the Assam Forest Regulations, 1891.
(ii) Any act done or purported to have been done prior to the introduction of these rules of 1977 or any action taken or purported to have been taken under the Settlement Rules, 1967 shall have been done under the New Rules, 1977.
(iii) No State Government or State Government Officers or Forest Officers shall be responsible for loss or damage unless he shall have caused the same maliciously or fraudulently prior to the enforcement of these rules or thereafter under these rules.