DEHRADUN: The employees of forest department have come out in open in defiance of state forest minister, Harak Singh Rawat , for attempting to tamper with the new service rules regarding forest department which were framed and notified last year by the previous Congress government in the state. Their main objection is against stalling the recruitment of 1218 posts of forest guard by the minister in order to relax the restrictions related to age and qualification. Rawat had stated that under new norms, age limit which has been brought down from 42 to 24 and, compulsion of science subjects with qualification upto XII level would be relaxed to give opportunity to wider spectrum of people.
According to Manish Mullick , head of human resources wing of the forest department, as per previous rules notified in 1950s’, even those who were in their late 30s or mid 40s’ and had passed class VIII or X were appointed as forest guards by the divisional forest officials. This way 65% recruitment of forest guards were made by DFOs’ from the given lot of daily wagers while rest entered through examinations.
Rajender Mahajan, head of forest force said that those forest guards who entered into service at ripe age are unable to do long foot patrolling after some years and, lacked the efficiency to handle the modern gadgets and, computerized procedures to feed data.
Inder Mohan Kothari, president of Forest Beat Employees Association said, ” science is mandatory for all the higher position of ranger and onwards. Forest guard too after getting promotions on the successive positions of foresters and deputy ranger become eligible to be promoted on 50% vacant positions of rangers. So if they do not have science background, the anomalies will further create complications.” He said, forest guard who is eyes and ears of the forest is the frontline staff. He opposed minister’s intrusion in twisting the norms saying that minister himself was part of the cabinet under the previous Congress regime which had cleared these service norms. He threatened of vehement agitation on any politics on this issue.
RBS Rawat, former head of forest force (HOFF) and former chairman of Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission told TOI, “The forest service mainly deals with forest, wildlife and environment which are more related with science streams such as botany, zoology etc than the arts or other streams. In today’s scenario, the forest guards are required to deal with scientific methodology like GPS, remote sensing, softwares which are more science oriented. So the state government should give paramount importance to the professional requirements than compromising for appeasing people for votes. The way we can not tamper with service rules of Defence or engineering etc, it applies same to the very sensitive forest services as well.”