One of the enduring tragedies of governance in India is how honest, upright and rule-abiding civil servants are shunted out by vested interests just for doing their job.
Last Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who also heads the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, signed off on the transfer of Ravindra Kumar, Assistant Conservator of Forests (Bengaluru Urban), the man responsible for the recovery of 130 acres of forest land from private individuals and businesses looking to encroach upon it. In place of Ravindra, the CM had appointed another bureaucrat who has only six months left in service.
According to The Newsminute, the trigger for Ravindra’s transfer was a move to recover 10 acres of forest land in the Bengaluru South area, a decision opposed by an influential MLA.
Appalled by the CMs decision, many environmentalists, wildlife activists, volunteers and private citizens expressed their displeasure and even threatened to protest publicly. State opposition leaders like PC Mohan and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (both MPs) and local MLAs also jumped into the fray and posted their displeasure over this transfer on social media.
“Instead of honouring him with a Rajyotsava award, he has been shunted out of the Bangalore urban division for his honest service to the government and humanity. Reserve forests are the last lung spaces in a burgeoning city where more than 10% of urban tree cover has been destroyed over the last few years,” an eco-wildlife volunteer told The Newsminute.
Reports indicate that the transfer order came at an inopportune time for Ravindra Kumar, as he was in the process of recovering a further 70 acres in the Turahalli forest area (a dry and deciduous forest 20 km from the main city off Kanakapura road) and 45 acres in the Anekal reserve forest.
Why should we care?
Remember the recent floods in Kerala and Kodagu? Well, scientists and activists contend that a lot of the devastation in these parts was due to deforestation. Moreover, without these trees, the city wouldn’t enjoy the kind of the weather it has become famous for.
Fortunately, The NewsMinute reports that Ravindra will be reinstated soon, following Forest Minister R Shankar’s decision to intervene in the matter. Even though the official transfer order is yet to be revoked, it is heartening to see that in this case, pressure from environmentalists, wildlife activists and the opposition politicians on the issue seems to have paid off.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)