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Telangana Govt clips Forestry wings, puts wildlife in peril

Telangana Govt clips Forestry wings, puts wildlife in peril
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In a blatant violation of Indian Forest Conservation and Wildlife Protection Act, the Telangana State government has dissolved two important wings – Social Forestry and Wildlife - permanently. 

The State government dissolves Social Forestry and Wildlife wings in the Forest Department permanently, in a barefaced breach of Forest Protection Act

Hyderabad: In a blatant violation of Indian Forest Conservation and Wildlife Protection Act, the Telangana State government has dissolved two important wings – Social Forestry and Wildlife - permanently.

The two wings have been merged with Territorial wing in the Forest Department recently.Top officials of the department told The Hans India that the Social Forestry and Wildlife wings had been dysfunctional and no specific authority was deputed at wild life sanctuaries and Amrabad and Kawal Tiger reserves.

The total number of sanctuaries in the State is seven including Kinnerasani in Khammam, Eturunagaram in Warangal, Manjira and Pocharam in Medak and Pranahitha and Sivaram sanctuaries in Adilabad districts.

As a result, the workload has increased on the officials and it had impacted in achieving the desired goals set by the government in the avenue plantations and curbing wildlife poaching. For instance, the number of poaching cases has gone up from 200 in 2015-16 to 300 in 2016-17.

The sources said all the deputed officials in the sanctuaries and tiger reserves were from the Territorial wing. As per the norms, government has to maintain separate workforce for Wildlife and Social Forestry wings under the Indian Forest Act and the officials should undergo training for every six months in their respective fields.

In the case of Telangana, the two important wings were non-existent as all the 2,200 staff members working in the department have been brought under a single territorial wing.

All the Forest Beat Officers (FBO) and DFOs (District Forest Officers) were given additional responsibility of overseeing the Haritha Haram under Social Forestry and also Wildlife Conservation.

Telangana State Forest Officers ( FROs) Association leader K Nagender Babu told The Hans India that the Telangana Forest JAC brought to the notice of the government the problems being faced by the department after disbanding Wildlife and Social Forestry wings.

Most of the workforce in the Territorial wing allegedly did not acquire skills in wildlife protection and social forestry which hindered the government’s efforts to conserve wildlife. In addition, no fresh recruitment was taken up in the department since the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

The association leader said the department forwarded proposals seeking sanction of nearly 2,000 posts. No official decision is taken on recruitment so far.

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