IFS officers upset over arbitrary transfers, promotions in Kerala Forest Dept

A K Saseendran
Washing his hands of the controversial transfer orders, Forest Minister AK Saseendran said that a decision on transfers was not taken by him.

Kozhikode: Resentment is brewing in the Kerala Forest Department over the transfer of some of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers in a haphazard manner in total violation of service rules and without the concurrence of the head of the Forest Department.

Washing his hands of the controversial transfer orders, Forest Minister AK Saseendran said that a decision on transfers was not taken by him. He added that promotion and transfers were routine administrative matters.

Forest Department Chief PK Keshavan will soon intimate Chief Secretary VP Joy of his written dissent over the controversial transfer and promotion orders issued by the government without getting the permission of both the Forest Department Headquarters and the Civil Services Board.

But the State Government, while ignoring the protests by a vast section of the officers, has issued the final orders on transfer and promotion. With this, some of the IFS officers aggrieved over transfers are planning to approach the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

Controversial postings

In the latest reshuffle, IFS officer NT Sajan, who is alleged to have involvement in the Muttil tree-felling case, has been given a high-level posting.

Sajan, who is the Social Forestry Deputy Conservator at Kollam, was given the coveted post of Southern Zone Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF).

Northern Zone Deputy Conservator DK Vinod Kumar, who was also holding the charge of the CCF there, was shunted out as the Deputy Conservator of the Kollam Forestry unit.

The irony is that Vinod Kumar, who inquired into the Manikunnumala tree-felling case connected to the Muttil case and filed a report against Sajan, has now to work in Kollam under the same tainted official, who is appointed as the CCF there. Many feel that this may lead to friction in the administrative side.

It is also alleged the present promotion was given to Sajan with the aim of giving him a future posting in Kozhikode as the CCF, Northern Zone.

Earlier, it was due to the intervention of the Forest Minister that the move by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) to post Sajan back in Kozhikode was aborted. The Minister had then noted in the file that it would give a wrong message if the tainted official was posted again in Kozhikode when the inquiry was going on in the Muttil tree-felling case.

The other officers transferred now are CCF, South Zone Sanjayan Kumar and Kozhikode Social Forestry Deputy Conservator of Forests R Keerthi. Sanjayan Kumar was transferred to the Work Planning wing, while Keerti was given a new posting in the Northern Zone.

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