Ex-soldiers not fit for tiger protection: Forest dept
By Hemanth CS, Imran Khan
09 Jun 2009 08:18:31 AM IST
BANGALORE: The State Forest Department, which a couple of years back had wanted to rope in ex-servicemen to patrol the tiger reserves in Karnataka, has now said that the men who once protected the nation’s borders are not fit for the forest patrol job.
Principal Chief Conservator of forests (Wildlife) BK Singh told Express that the proposed plan to have the Special Tiger Protection Force with ex-servicemen in its ranks has been a non-starter as no formal policy in this regard has been formed.
“Generally, ex-servicemen are hired as per the ex-servicemen quota but the ground level experience shows that they are not cut out for the forest patrol job. It’s not just them but also the police personnel are not fit for the job,” he said.
Praveen Bhargava, conservationist, Wild Life Trust, agrees: "They are are tutored and disciplined to work in a certain way. There is also the issue of rank”.
On the other hand the Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement has said that exservicemen in the State are willing to take up the task.
Colonel (Retd) CM Uttaiah, director, Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement said “An ex-servicemen who has retired as a Hawaldar in the Army after serving for 15 to 20 years cannot be treated as a forest guard. Besides, they have to recruited in a proper manner and given the right kind of pay etc,” he said.
Though the forest department while showing interest to rope in ex-servicemen did not disclose the number of personnel it wanted to hire, Karnataka with 36,000 sq km of forest has just 4,000 forest guards. There is a shortage of 50 per cent, as far as the forest guards are concerned.