Bennichan Thomas to be new Forest Dept head

Bennichan Thomas
Bennichan Thomas. Photo: Special Arrangement

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Wildlife Warden Bennichan Thomas will be appointed as the new Forest Department Chief in Kerala.

A high level committee summoned under the chairmanship of the chief secretary had handed over file of recommendation to the chief minister's office. The recommendation was submitted by Chief Secretary, Forest Department head, Principal Secretary and a central representative.

The current Forest Department head PK Kesavan will retire on May 31.

As the Chief Wildlife Warden, Thomas had faced suspension over the infamous tree felling order in connection with the Mullaperiyar Dam.

He was suspended in November last year after an order not sanctioned by the Kerala government, was issued granting permission to Tamil Nadu to fell 15 trees in the vicinity of the baby dam at Mullaperiyar. The state government had alleged that Thomas violated service rules.

The suspension was later withdrawn and the government ended the departmental inquiry against him. Thomas had clarified that the order was issued with the knowledge of Additional Chief Secretary T K Jose and he had got clear instructions from the top level to expedite the issuance of the order.

Thomas was selected for the post after Pramodkumar Pathak, an officer from the 1986 batch who is currently on central deputation, expressed reluctance to accept the post. Bennichan Thomas, an officer from the 1988 batch, was the next senior-most official eligible for the post.

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