KATHMANDU, Sept 16: The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation transferred more than 100 forest officials today. Though the decision was made late evening on Friday, the officials were finalizing and sending letters to the transferred officials on Saturday during the weekly holiday.
Significant numbers of officials were seen at the premises of department of forests at Babarmahal waiting for the transfer letter on Saturday afternoon.
Director General of Department of National Parks Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) of Krishna Prasad Acharya has been transferred to the ministry where there was the possibility of providing him with the responsibility of Environment Division chief which is currently vacant. Megh Bahadur Pandey who was working as the chief at Chure Programme at the ministry has been appointed as the director general of the wildlife department.
Pandey was the deputy director general at the department two years ago but after a dispute between officials at that time put his promotion into question.
“Acharya was doing very well and the ministry appreciates his hard work but as Pandey is senior than him and it has almost been two years he served in the department, he will be rewarded at the ministry by giving him ´good post´,” said Krishna Chandra Paudel, Secretary at the ministry. Likewise, joint secretary Ram Prasad Lamsal has been transferred to the Multi Stakeholder Forestry Programme.
About 20 district forest officers and more than eighty rangers were also transferred at the same time. However, secretary Paudel said that the ministry has transferred officials as per the need and is per the rules and regulations. “We have tried our best to make it fair and it was done with consensus from the officials transferred and the rules were not broken,” said Paudel.
Forest Minister Yadubansha Jha had been exercising for massive transfer of the officials since a month. The transfer of forest officials always sparks controversy as minister and high level officials allegedly get involved in bribery while transferring to lucrative districts in terai region where the timber trade is high.
Secretary Paudel refuted any such claims and challenged anyone to furnish proof of irregularities. “There are rumors in this country but as the head of the bureaucracy in the ministry I have done what is needed and as per the rules,” added Paudel who is seen as a secretary with clean image.
However, sources at the ministry said that minister´s son Prakash Jha and grandson Sanjeev Jha were trying hard to bargain with the officials for the transfer. “They had even prepared a list of district forest officials to be transferred but it didn´t work that way.
However, some DFO´s were transferred as per the recommendation of the minister,” said a highly place source under the condition of anonymity. The source declined to name the officials. The minister was not available for the comment despite of frequent approaches.
District Forest Officer in Kathmandu Man Bahadur Khadka has been transferred to Bara while Prakash Nath Pyakurel was brought to Kathmandu. Likewise, Sindhupalchowk DFO Krishna Wasti was transferred to Dolakha, DFO from Dolakha Kedar Dahal to the ministry, Indra Mani Bhandari from ministry has been sent to regional office at Biratnagar while Akhilesh Lal Karna from Udayapur got entry at the ministry.
The ministry has sent Bindu Mishra to Parsa whereas Shanta Maya Shrestha from Parsa was transferred to Parbat.