news Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | August 19, 2014 | 3.00 pm IST The state government appears to have inducted Home Minister K J George’s son J Rana George into the Wildlife Protection Board, after shunting out Anil Kumble. The Wildlife Board is a statutory body set up under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, is set up at the centre and the states to oversee the implementation of the law and wildlife policy.  According to Kannada daily Udayavani, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has removed Anil Kumble from his post in the board as honorary vice-president and abolished it altogether. According to a source, Kumble was removed because he was appointed by the B S Yeddyurappa government which created the post of an honorary vice-president. Though the decision seems to have been made in March, the composition of the board is out only now. Rana is a director of the Kelachandra group of companies which owns coffee estates in Chikmaglur and Kodagu districts, agricultural land in Mysore, Karnataka, and rubber estates in Kerala,. Rana had made a request to be part of the state Wildlife Board in January in this year, and had claimed that as he was a wildlife warden for some time, though it is unclear for how long he served. According to Section 6 of the Wildlife Protection Act, the board comprises the chief minister, forest minister, two legislators, secretary to the government, state Forest Department chief, chief Wildlife Warden and 10 persons who have worked extensively in ecology and wildlife conservation. Why does Rana want the post? According to a Bangalore Mirror report in January 2014, Rana was forbidden entry into prohibited areas of Bandipur Forests in July 2013. Quoting forest department officials, the report said that Rana had wanted permission to go to prohibited areas in the Bandipur forests, which was denied to him. Rana however, is quoted in the report as saying that he had not been stopped and that he had entered the areas of the forest which the public were permitted to enter. He had applied to the state government to nominate him as a member of the wildlife board and honorary wildlife warden of Mysore district.  Udayavani also says that in the very first meeting of the newly constituted board, Rana asked permission to enter all prohibited forest areas in Karnataka. His request made in the presence of the Chief Minister was reportedly turned down by the Chief Secretary. This begs the question why Rana wanted access to protected forest areas. Siddaramaiah has defended his decision to appoint Rana to the wildlife board. He said that Rana was a “wildlife enthusiast”.
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