January 24, 2022 2:09:37 pm
It has almost been a month since the field director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve SR Natesh was repatriated to the Jharkhand cadre but the Karnataka government has not appointed anybody in his place. V Karikalan is currently the incharge director of the reserve.
The state government in 2020 posted Natesh as the field director of Bandipur. He was left with only 1.2 years of inter-cadre deputation tenure. In December 2021, he also handed over the charge. Wildlife conservationists point out that the government could have deputed a forest officer who has sufficient years of service left so that the conservation measures could not be impeded.
Principal chief conservator of forest (head of the forest force) Sanjay Mohan told The Indian Express that the Karnataka forest department has recommended a few names to the government.
“We are aware of the issue. The department has sent a list of names for the appointment of field director in the reserve. The government will take a final call on the matter. Presently, the incharge official is taking care of the ongoing census and hopefully, in a few days the appointment will be done,” he added.
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In September 2013, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) wrote to the additional chief secretaries of all the states that a minimum tenure of three years should be ensured for forest officers posted in tiger reserves. The directions were reiterated by the NTCA to the states in 2015 and 2019.
Meanwhile, the tiger census was started at Bandipur on January 22. More than 300 officials of the forest department are taking part in the census which will be carried out in three phases. “Due to the ongoing crisis emanating from the pandemic volunteers are not allowed to take part in the census,” Karikalan said.
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