Sagar division in Shivamogga district has had no appointment of cadre IFS officers since 2013. The state forest officers have been appointed to IFS cadre posts without the approval of the central government.
In contravention of the Indian Forest Service (Cadre) Rules 1966, non-IFS (Indian Forest Service) officers are holding on to cadre posts in Karnataka without approval from the central government.
BK Singh, former principal chief conservator of forest (head of forest force) Karnataka, explained that IFS officers are recruited and trained for managing forests of the country but they tend to get posted to ex-cadre posts (posts outside the forest department) leaving a large number of cadre posts empty.
“This certainly impacts conservation and development of forests. This is done by senior IFS officers in collusion with the state government so that they could be promoted. Some of the posts outside the forest department which are occupied by the IFS officers include MD tourism corporation MD, jungle lodges MD, agriculture director, special director environment, state disaster management director,” he added.
Sagar division in Shivamogga district has had no appointment of cadre IFS officers since 2013. The position of deputy conservator of forest is occupied by a non-cadre officer. The state forest officers have been appointed to IFS cadre posts without the approval of the central government.
The rules state that a cadre post shall not be filled by a person who is not a cadre officer except in case of non-availability of a cadre officer; provided that when a suitable cadre officer becomes available, the non-cadre officer shall be replaced by a cadre officer.
However, after three months if a non-cadre officer continues in the post the state government should obtain the prior approval of the central government. The state government should prepare a list of the officers who should be promoted from State Forest Service (SFS) to IFS and submit it to the central government which should then be forwarded to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) but this has not happened since 2013.
Advocate Veerendra Patil revealed to The Indian Express that more than 42 cadre posts are vacant across the state.
“Non-IFS officers are holding the cadre posts without approval from the central government. According to the stipulated guidelines the state government should have had to take permission from the central government for the continuation of a non-cadre officer beyond three months. In this regard, I have sent a letter to the additional chief secretary but there is no response,” he added.
A senior official in the Karnataka forest department alleged more than Rs 20 lakh bribe is paid at the ministerial level and to the officials of the department of public and administrative reforms (DPAR) to give cadre posts to the State Forest Service officers.
“The reason why a huge bribe is paid by the non-cadre officers to occupy cadre posts is that in regions where timber and mining mafia are working, they blatantly pay huge amounts to the forest officers. For example, permission to fell trees, environmental clearance to carry out stone quarrying in areas where it is not permissible, regularising encroachment by collecting bribes from encroachers can fetch a lot of money,” he added.
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