Forest officers miffed at top changes

Shimla: Abrupt changes at the top level in the forest department has left senior foresters a frustrated lot even as the government says that head of the forest department has been made advisor and another officer, who was not second in line, has been elevated for betterment of the department.

Late on Wednesday, the government appointed RK Gupta, a 1978 batch IFS officer and fourth in line of seniority, as the new Principal Chief Conservator Forest (PPCF) in place of Vinay Tandon, who has been made advisor. Tandon was due to retire in March, 2012 and with appointment of Gupta, two officers AK Gulati and RK Sood, both 1977 batch IFS officers stand super ceded.

About the changes made, additional chief secretary forest Sudipto Roy said that the top changes made had been for administrative reasons and to overcome cadre stagnation.

He said poor cadre management of Indian Forest Officers (IFS) had created a top heavy department which had resulted in stagnation.

Besides the changes have been made to bring about buoyancy in the working of department and Tandon’s service, who is an expert in wildlife and utilization of natural resources, would be utilized in a better manner in the new capacity, said Roy.

When contact Pankaj Khullar, a former PCCF termed it as a black day in the history of the forest department.

Khullar, who himself was victim of being super ceded in promotions said, “what began with me as a precedent seems to have become the rule.

“This act of the government will further dishearten an already demoralized forest department for anybody with a political backing will it out of the way make to the top and seniority-cum-merit as criteria for promotion does not count anymore, he said.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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