Monday 17th January 2011, is the D'day for Forestry Students, who were on 114th day of their strike which was commenced on 27th September 2010, with the demand to make BSc (Forestry) the sole eligibility criteria for the posts of Range Forest Officers (RFO) and Asst. Conservator of Forests (ACF) in Karnataka in the lines of other states like Tamilnadu, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir etc.
Law Minister of Karnataka Mr. S. Suresh Kumar who visited the Freedom Park in Bangalore on Saturday 15th January 2011, had compassionate talk with striking students and assured that he will arrange a meeting of all concerned including ministers, officers, Vice Chancellors and student leaders to discuss the issue and solve the problem positively.
Students expressed their gratitude towards compassionate talk of Suresh Kumar not only through their claps but also by shouting slogans with Suresh Kumar ki Jai.
The Minister expressed his concern by asking not only about problems but also posing the question that what is the future of students of these Forestry Colleges, once the filling of required posts since the students study specific subject of Forestry which limited to the Forest Department.
His concern is genuine and here is some feedback information which Government can consider while formulating its policy and promulgating Gazette Notification. These suggestions are given by the Forestry Students Association of Rajasthan.
In fact while visiting the striking students Mr. Suresh Kumar asked me regarding my involvement on the issue along with his above said question which exhibits his real concern towards the issue. I wrote a letter to Mr. Suresh Kumar and want to reproduce it here, so that it could give some feedback to the meeting on the issue.
and hope that if Government initiate steps to widen the oppurtunety for Forestry Students, it will in turn help to protect our environment in a scientific way and karnataka will become the pioneer state to act in that lines.
Here is the letter written to Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar:
Dear Sri S. Suresh Kumar,
(Minister of Law Karnataka),
Thanks for your for your compassion and sincere efforts to solve the problem of striking Forestry Students problem. I personally express my thanks to you on behalf of students.
Yesterday night (15th January 2011) while talking with students you have posed two questions to me. They show your real concern towards the genuine problem. Hence I felt it is my duty to give some feedback to you on the issue.
First of all, the question why i am so deeply involved in this issue? You are right. No journalist would so deeply involve in any issue. But i am not only a journalist, but also a person fighting for justice just like you who came from the background of fighting for social causes. As you are aware, I was in jail for 3 months for opposing the emergency in1975, during my college days itself.
My daughter studying in the Forestry College is just one cause. She is 'nimitta matra'. Actually when she asked my suggestion regarding courses other than engineering and medical I found that Forestry is one of the course equalent to BSc (Agr), BSc (Hort), Engineering and Medical with 4 years. It was also a special subject related to agriculture which is the need of the society for existance itself. Hence my daughter joined the course.
It is only after that I came to know the problems in the course and felt that hundreds of students are facing the same problem of scarcity of jobs after their study and they are sidelined in the Forestry Department itself and they are fighting for justice since 10 years . When the students decided to fight it out again this time with the demand to make BSc (Forestry) the sole eligibility criterion for posts of RFO and ACF, I thought it is my duty to support them.
Your Second question after filling of the vacancies once which are the oppurtunities to them? Where can they go for jobs? Your question makes anyone sure that you really concerned regarding the future of students who study this special course.
As you know, this course is of its first kind and unique in bringing the forestry professionals. During the study period students are undergoing theory and practical knowledge in various subject related to the field of Forestry, Silviculture, Forest Mansuration, Remote Sensing, Forest Management, Ecology. Wild life. Biodiversity, Forest Law and Policy, Soil and Water Conservation, Medicinal Plants, Nursery Management, Forest Utilization, Wood Science, Agro forestry etc, There are one year special programme on experiential learning and industrial/ forestry sector attachment programme, Which improves their managerial skill and boost their confidence. Thus the forestry education aims to prepare forestry experts to manage the forest resources of state on sustained basis.
Being multidisciplinary course curriculum of scientific management, social science and wildlife etc, it is embodied with Natural resource management. In India career in forestry is more in Government sector as Government has monopoly on forest Resources but it is not streamlined for regular job in spite of advocacy in National policies of education and forestry for the same.
National Forest Policy-1988 states “Forestry should be recognized both as a scientific discipline as well as a professional. Agricultural universities and other institutions dedicated to the development of forestry education and promoting postgraduate research and professional excellence, keeping in view for manpower need of the country. Academic and professional qualifications in forestry should be kept in view for recruitment to the Indian forest services and state forest services.
As a follow up. Already different state governments formulated their recruitment policy for forestry graduates in their respective state forest service on priority basis.
For instance, in Jammu and Kashmir Forest Service(Range) officer grade-I, B.Sc. forestry has been made a minimum qualification. Extending the same, Kerala Govt. Gazette no. 2 Dated 10 January, 1995, amends to Kerala subordinate services and notify it have a compulsory degree in forestry. In other state like Orissa, Gujarat, Sikkim. Forest policy formulated for B.Sc. Forestry graduates. Even the Tamilnadu Govt. has amended its rules and recruitment policies in similar lines through Gazette Notification. (You can view the copy which is with Forestry Students)
In Rajasthan, Forestry students Association has urged the the Govt and Rajasthan State Forest Department to formulate necessary guideline and amendments the recruitment process so that all seats/posts in the direct entry to Assistant Conservator of forest (ACF) and Range Forest Officers (RFO) are reserved only for B.Sc.Forestry (Hons.) graduates passing out from recognized institution within the Rajasthan and must be domicile of Rajasthan and include forestry as an optional subject in Rajasthan public service Examinations .
Forestry Students Association of Rajasthan has made some suggestions which could be useful to to other states also in the direction of making use of these Forestry Management experts in other fields also.
Here is the suggestions made by Forestry Students Association of Rajasthan:
There are various allied department which are interrelated with forestry sector forestry gradates can profess in these departments in a better way. Therefore necessary modification in the recruitment process may be made so that forestry graduates may get preference for recruitment in the area of Ø Watershed Development, Ø Pollution Control Board, Ø Remote sensing units. Ø TRIFEDS (Tribal Co-operative Federations) Ø LAMPS (Large Area Multipurpose Societies) Ø Rural Development Department, Ø Urban Development Authority, Ø State Biodiversity Board, Ø State Medicinal Plant Board, Ø State tourism Department Ø State Mining Department Ø Soil and water Conservation Department In order to improve the productivity of the state forest, to enhance the green cover, halting sertification, Watershed Development, Mass awareness, Promotion of Agro-forestry, fodder and grasslands improvements. Ravine reclamation there is a great challenge and supply of experts in this field will fulfill the above objectives. Hence, forestry graduates deserve special attention and opportunity to play a key role in utilizing, managing and conserving the forest resources of the state efficiently on scientific basis.
If Karnataka Government try to do something in this regard, it will be the best decision in the country itself and it will become a pioneer state to show sincere concern to save our earth, environment and agricultre in the scientifc way.
I hope you will take serious note of this and impress your ministerial collagues including Cheif Minister in this regard and do the needful.
16th January 2011.
Nethrakere Udaya Shankara Narayana Bhat
Pls view the Video Glimpses of Suresh Kumar's visit by clicking below:
Forestry Students Strike: Law Minister Suresh Kumar's Assurance
Forestry Students Strike: Conversation of Suresh Kumar wih students- Audio
Forestry Students strike: Suresh Kumar visits striking students