The call for an increase in pay for the lower rung forest staff has also resulted in an online petition which has seen close to 6000 signatures in a week.

Ktaka Forest Dept asks govt to give pay hike for staff in line with police officials
news Administration Friday, August 02, 2019 - 14:27

The top brass of the Karnataka Forest Department has approached the state government to increase the pay of mid and lower-ranked forest staff in the state who have threatened to go on strike. Hundreds of (non-IFS) forest department officials below the rank of RFOs (Range Forest Officer) in Karnataka are threatening to go on leave en masse demanding a pay hike similar to what was given to the police department recently.

The call for an increase in pay for the lower rung forest staff has also got support from wildlife enthusiasts. An online petition for the cause has seen close to 6,000 people supporting it within a week. 

Speaking to TNM, Chief of Staff and Head of the Forest Department, Sridhar Punnati said, “We have taken up the matter with the government. We are for pay parity of forest staff compared to the police department. We have requested Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) to hold a meeting regarding this.”  

A mid-rank forest official said, “There are around 8,000 forest staff across the state who will go for a strike if the situation does not improve. These include staff starting from forest watchers, forest guards to deputy range officers. In the case of the foresters, the pay that a DRFO (deputy range forest officer) is getting is equal to a constable whereas in rank and responsibility they are equal to police sub-inspector. This lack of parity has hurt them very much. That is why they are pressurising PCCF (Principal Chief Conservator of Forests) and the government to make an equivalent post and pay to that of sub-inspector.” 

The state government on June 16 during the last Kumaraswamy regime had approved an increase of 12.5% in the salaries of police staff below the rank of sub-inspector. 

“We have already acted on their request. Especially the Deputy Range Officers had given a request which we had already sent to the government long back. And in the previous government, then Forest Minister Satish Jarkiholi had a meeting with the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) in this regard. In that meeting, it was decided that the cabinet sub-committee will hold a meeting for this purpose and take a decision. Even Additional Chief Secretary (Forest) had written to ACS (Finance) to convene a meeting for the same,” a top source in the department told TNM.

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