By Raghava M.
The Forest Department is in the news following questions being raised over the appointment of honorary wildlife wardens.
As many as 26 persons were appointed for the posts for each district as per the notification issued by the department on December 3, 2009. The orders were issued following the recommendation of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B.K. Singh. Among those appointed are an advocate, a religious leader and a former correspondent of a Kannada daily.
Honorary wildlife wardens are those who will work for wildlife conservation and protection, and they are appointed for a period of two years.
Questions are being raised over the appointment of R. Sharat Babu, a former senior manager of People for Animals, Bangalore, and Nireen Jain, an architect from Mangalore. Mr. Babu and Mr. Jain, who are honorary wildlife wardens for Bangalore and Madikeri respectively, are facing cases filed by the Forest Department under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The Bangalore Urban Forest Division filed cases against Mr. Babu and two others of the PFA’s wildlife rescue centre for illegal possession, transportation and release of wild animals in February 2007. The cases were booked following a visit of the then Deputy Conservator Forests A.M. Annaiah to the PFA’s Wildlife Rescue Centre adjacent to the Turahalligudda Reserve Forest. They were also booked for felling sandalwood trees and for illegal occupation of forest land.
As many as seven cases were booked against Mr. Jain in 2004. Among the accusations against Mr. Jain are trespassing into the Kudremukh National Park and carrying out projects without taking clearance from the Forest Department. Mr. Jain has filed a criminal revision petition before the High Court in three cases. More....