INDIAN Forest Service Association on Monday took a strong objection of former union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh’s “corrupt forest bureaucrats” comment, demanding an apology from the senior Congress leader. The IAS Association immediately lent its support stating: “We stand by our colleagues in Indian Forest Service and condemn such sweeping comments against officers”. The issue arose when Ramesh while…reacting to the Compensatory Afforestation Bill, had opposed to the provision of spending power of crores of rupees to what he said “in the hands of corrupt forest bureaucrats”. Ramesh’s remarks came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday regretted that the Compensatory Afforestation (CA) Bill could not be passed in the Budget session of Parliament. Though it was expected that the bill would be passed during the Budget session, the combined opposition of the Congress, CPM, JD(U) and the TMC which had asked for amendments, stalled it.
In fact, the bill intends to send a large part of the funds collected from industry (Rs 40,000 crore so far) to the states. The fund was created in a follow-up to a Supreme Court order.
Ramesh in a letter to current environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar said, “It is for the Prime Minister to explain why his government is so keen on transferring thousands of crores to forest bureaucrats without any measures to ensure that these funds are not misused, and that the rights of our country's poorest people are protected.”
The Indian Forest Service Association said in a statement that it considers the alleged statement by Ramesh as “highly deplorable, irresponsible and baseless”.
“This is a highly derogatory remark which has maligned the entire officers and frontline staff of forest service”, it said.
Here is the full text of the statement issued by Indian Forest Service Association.
“While reacting on the Compensatory Afforestation Bill, Mr Jairam Ramesh, Former Minister of Environment and Forests stated that ‘Should this spending be completely in the hands of corrupt forest bureaucrats…’. This has appeared in media on Sunday.
The Indian Forest Service Association considers the alleged statement as highly deplorable, irresponsible and baseless. This is a highly derogatory remark which has maligned the entire officers and frontline staff of forest service who are fighting a day to day battle while sacrificing their lives to safeguard natural heritage, forests and wildlife. The substantial increase in forest cover, populations of endangered fauna like tiger, lion, elephant and rhinoceros, against the declining trend in the global level, have been possible only due to untiring, relentless and selfless service being rendered by the forest officers and staff.
The attributed remarks are very unfortunate, more so when uttered by a person who has himself been the Minister of Environment and Forests.
The IFS Association strongly condemns the same and expects appropriate apology from Mr Jairam Ramesh.”
The statement was signed by SP Yadav, the general secretary of Indian Forest Service Association.
Earlier in November 2013, Indian Revenue Service Association wrote a letter to Aam Aadmi Party chief and former IRS-IT officer (current Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal to convey its anguish over Kejriwal’s reported statement that he could have made crores of rupees as an income-tax commissioner, but left the service to serve the nation. IRS Association said, the statement has maligned everyone in the department while reminding the I-T official-turned politician that his wife is still a member of the department.