Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal asks forest dept to look into STPF transfers | Nagpur News

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NAGPUR: The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) has directed the state forest department to take a decision on the petition filed by 44 special tiger protection force (STPF) forest guards with Pench Tiger Reserve for transfers.
After senior forest officials made out-of-the-way and illegal transfers of some STPF guards in 2015, 44 aggrieved forest guards had made a representation on August 2, 2017 to PCCF seeking their transfers.
However, as their application was not considered by the PCCF’s office, the forest guards moved MAT in 2017. Their contention was that they came to be appointed as forest guards in 2012 with reference to an advertisement published in 2011 to fill 184 vacancies for territorial division but were made to join STPF.
Disposing of the petition of 44 guards on April 30, 2019, AD Karanjkar, member (judicial), MAT, said representation of STPF guards is still pending and asked the forest department to take a decision regarding transfers in three months.
The 44 guards have completed 5 years with STPF and argue they should be transferred. However, as per the guidelines, STPF is a dedicated force for tiger protection and as per the norms, a guard posted in STPF has to be in the force till he attains 40 years of age.
Violating this guideline, then APCCF (administration-subordinate cadre) PN Munde shifted 5 STPF guards, including 4 women. During the entire hearing of the case since 2017, the forest department remained ‘silent’ on these illegal transfers.
“STPF is a dedicated force exclusively for tiger protection. We can transfer them from one STPF to another but not in territorial divisions. For past mistakes by some officials, the entire cadre is demoralized,” said a senior wildlife wing official, who did not want to be quoted.
The illegal transfers of 5 STPF guards has led to dissidence in the force with others, too, wanting transfers now. “These guards were appointed for the territorial division and as per the Maharashtra Forest Service (MFS) policy issued on May 22, 2017, forest guards are entitled for transfer after every three years,” argued counsel for 44 petitioners GG Bade.
On the issue, chief conservator of forests (CCF) for Nagpur Circle P Kalyan Kumar said, “I’ve not seen the order. Let me check what MAT has said only then an appropriate decision could be taken.”

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