DCF who refused dam desilting shunted
The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD: In a move that raised eyebrows, the state government late on Wednesday night transferred deputy conservator of forests, Sasan Gir Ram Ratan Nala. The officer had refused to permit desilting work at Singhoda dam, which is situated within the Gir sanctuary.
Nala had come under the scanner of the district administration twice earlier too. Nala had denied permission for a religious programme earlier this month at the Kankai Mata Temple — which is within the forest area — that was to be attended by chief minister Vijay Rupani. Recently, officials said, the forest department had also stopped construction work on the Sasan Talala road as there was no permission taken from the State Board of Wildlife for the road widening.
The Singhoda desilting issue led to a dispute between the forest department and the district administration. Officials said the forest department opposed the desilting, because the rules stipulate that permission from the National Board of Wildlife has to be sought. The administration, ostensibly to please the government, wanted to the desilting to go ahead.
The issue reached the Gujarat high court, which directed the state government and forest authorities concerned to report whether desilting of Singhoda dam would affect the forest and wildlife at the Gir National Park.
Forest minister Ganpat Vasava said, "This is a routine transfer and has nothing to do with the denial of permission for desilting of Singhoda dam."
Meanwhile, forest officials claimed that the issue was taken up before the additional chief secreatry, forest and environment, wherein it was alleged that Nala had refused to give permission for desilting work despite several requests from the district administration. Specualtion was also rife that Nala was opposing the work despite the permission being granted by the district collector office.
Ajay Prakash, the collector of Gir Somnath, clarified that he had not issued permission. "I do not have the right to give permission. All I can say is that the forest department had not issued permission for desilting as it would be sent to the collector as soon as it is issued."