Forest officer who cracked down on encroachments transferred out by Karnataka govt

Environmentalists are angry, and allege that the transfer order was because of political pressure rather than anything else.

It seems that instead of awarding an officer for his good work, the Karnataka government has punished Assistant Conservator of Forests (Bengaluru Urban) Ravindra Kumar, with a sudden transfer.
Ravindra Kumar, credited with recovering 130 acres of forest land from private encroachments, has been transferred out of his position, though his replacement has only six months left in the service. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who heads the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, signed his transfer order on October 5, and has not given any further posting.

Highly placed sources in the Forest Department confirmed the development. “It looks like the transfer has been made at the behest of the encroachers. Otherwise, there is no reason for the transfer,” a senior officer told.

Environmentalists are angry, and allege that the transfer order was because of political pressure rather than anything else.

“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 root cause for the punishment transfer could be attributed to the recovery of 10 acres of forest land (Section 4 declared forest in Survey no 37 of Sunkadakatte, Bangalore South). A good government servant has been sacrificed to appease the ego of a politician. Without forests, we will perish,” he said.

Environmentalists point out that the recent destruction in Kerala and Kodagu due to the heavy rains in August has been attributed to deforestation by scientists.

Retired Forest Officer Lakshminarayanan, who also worked as an ACF in Bengaluru North and retired as a Deputy Conservator of Forests, said, “He was saving the environment and had started a war against encroachment.

There were a lot of issues but he fought against politicians, bureaucrats and muscle men alike.”

He added, “This shows there is no protection for people who are doing good work. He should not have been transferred, he had filed a lot of cases against culprits. Yeshwantapur MLA Somsekhar is behind the transfer.”

A group of environmentalists are now thinking of forming a pressure group to reinstate the officer citing that he has only completed two years of his posting as Bangalore Urban ACF while government service regulations mandate an officer has to complete minimum three years in one position before being transferred.

Ravindra Kumar ACF could not be reached for a comment.

The Ancient Times

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