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The forest department has recommended the abolition of the posts of two field directors, saying their work can be done from Bengaluru.
Going against chief minister Siddaramaiah’s order that forest officials should be on the field and not in Bengaluru, the department wants the field directors of Project Tiger and Project Elephant to go, and their work distributed between two officials sitting in Bengaluru. Project Tiger is now run from the Nagarhole and Bandipur forests.
P Annur Reddy, principal chief conservator of forests, told DH the proposals had been placed before the government for approval. Once the duties are shifted to Bengaluru, the two officials will coordinate the working and administration of all forests of Karnataka, he said. The work will be divided equally between the chief conservator of forests and conservator of forests, who at present manage their divisions.
According to officials, this decision was taken because the department is too top-heavy.
Karnataka has 45 additional principal chief conservators of forests. The idea is to abolish the posts as and when the current officials retire. The first step, they said, was to jettison officials of this rank helming Project Tiger and Project Elephant.
The post of field directors was created 44 years across India, when Project Tiger was launched.
The post of field director, Project Elephant, was created in 1992, when the project was launched.
Conservationists say the decision of abolishing the posts should be communicated to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi, but the state forest department says that is not necessary.