Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, who held a high-level meeting of Forest Officials here yesterday, fumed over the functioning style of Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) Officials and directed Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai to take stringent action on negligent Officials besides ordering for a CID probe into the recent forest fires across the State.
Siddharamaiah said that Forest personnel, who did not respond effectively to the forest fires, would face action.
Fuming at the officials for sitting in Bengaluru, the CM said: “Forest officials must be in forests and why do they always sit in their offices here in Bengaluru all the time. I do not see any officer working in forests. Officials should not be complacent in the matter of protecting our forests and I would not endorse that kind of attitude. Who is responsible for the loss that we have suffered?”
Keen on knowing the movements of officials in the last one month, the CM reportedly directed Additional Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar to submit a detailed report on the movement of KFD officials and the work executed by them in forests. He also asked the forest officials to submit a proposal on averting and controlling forest fires.
When officials briefed the CM that donors have helped in drilling borewells and operating them using solar-powered motors, he said: “We must ensure that by making use of these borewells all waterholes be filled with water. If need arises build small check-dams at various vantage points and ensure collection of water.”
Siddharamaiah suggested of establishing Fire Stations in forest borders, which would be of immediate help during forest fires for which the State Government would help and to provide training to the Forest staff and locals in extinguishing fires.
Briefing the CM, the Forest officials said that there were no sufficient rains since three years resulting in trees and plants drying and added that it has become a challenge to prevent forest fires this year.
Forest Officials transferred
The State Government has ordered the transfer of Forest officials including Chief Wildlife Warden B.G. Hosmath barely an hour after the high-level meeting which was chaired by CM Siddharamaiah. While Hosmath has been transferred as the Managing Director of Karnataka Forest Development Corporation (KFDC), Kishan Singh Sugara has been made the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife). Ganesh S. Bhat, DCF, Mysuru Wildlife Division, has been transferred as DCF of Kudremukh Wildlife Division. V. Yedukondalu, DCF, Gungaraghatti Training Centre, has been transferred to Mysuru Wildlife Division. D. Maria Christu Raja, DCF of Kudremukh Wildlife Division, has been transferred as DCF of Virajpet Division.