This is the second time in a year, that the CM is facing protests from the greens against the transfer of forest officers.

Environmentalists protest against Karnataka CM for transferring Bannerghatta forest official
news Environment Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 19:09

Environmentalists in and around Bengaluru are angry with Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for transferring out popular forest officer RFO Ganesh amid the ongoing political crisis. Rao who was posted as the Range Forest Officer in Bannerghatta has now been ordered to serve at the Karnataka Rubber Board office in Sulia.

They urged the Chief Minister to immediately withdraw the transfer order. To pressurise the CM, they have started an email campaign requesting the CM to revoke his transfer order.

Ganesh could not be reached for comment.

While Ganesh was known for his uprightness and stood up to political pressures with regards to encroachments and other illegalities, he has not even served the minimum six months’ period in his current position.

Activists allege this prompt transfer order by the CM has been issued at the behest of the greedy encroachment and the mining mafia. They say even within a short span of time he was successful in gaining the confidence of the communities living along the forest and reducing man- animal conflicts.

Speaking on this, urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth, alleged, “Everybody knows him to be a very good officer. All the activists are sure that pressure has come from the encroachment and quarrying mafia. Whoever is working good for the environment, he or she is getting transferred.”

Arun Prasad, another activist, alleged, “This kind of transfer is unacceptable. The CM’s supporters call him the ‘son of the soil’ then why is he supporting the act of miners and industrialists and not the people. If this transfer order is not revoked we will go for protests.”

This development comes after October 2018 when there was a similar drive against the transfer order for then Assistant Conservator of Forest Bengaluru Urban Division, Ravindra Kumar. Like Ganesh, Ravindra Kumar was a favourite among environmentalists in the city as he had recovered 130 acres of Turahalli forest land during his brief tenure and initiated action against 60 encroachers irrespective of their political influence. Documents accessed by TNM show that the order was requested by two influential politicians. According to the activists, the officer was in the process of recovering another 30 acres of forest land from the grip of influential encroachers.

Even though the protests did not result in the reappointment of the officer, environmentalists threatened to go to court to prevent further such political interventions in the Forest Department.

 

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