NTCA tells states to consult it before transferring IFS cadre

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has directed the states not to transfer officers posted in tiger reserves without consulting it. This is likely to put an end to the indiscriminate transfer of officials in tiger reserves by the state governments.

The NTCA has directed that a minimum tenure of three years should be ensured for officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) in tiger reserves. In its letter dated September 5 to the state governments, the NTCA has said that the direction is purely for professional reasons. The letter comes just five days after the Karnataka government undertook a mass transfer of officers, including IFS officers.

Officers from Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Anshi Dandeli tiger reserves were among those transferred on August 31.

“The minimum tenure will strengthen field delivery and the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which ensures proper flow of funds,” the order said. During a meeting, the forest officers are learnt to have complained to Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of NTCA, about their inability to work in a free atmosphere due to frequent transfers.

Noting that transfers will hold up some of the significant conservation programmes, the officers had sought the intervention of the NTCA, at least by fixing a tenure for achieveing better results.

The order mentions the tripartite agreement between NTCA, Project Tiger in the State and the field director to strengthen the monitoring and field activities. Now onwards, NTCA will advise the states on the appointment of officers to the tiger reserves, the order adds.

“The authority has decided to advise the states under Section 38-O (2) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to send a panel of names to Project Tiger/NTCA for obtaining recommendations vis-a-vis the professional competency of the officers,” the order from NTCA said. Accordingly, NTCA will select officers based on leadership, efficiency, interest in wildlife and scientific knowledge. Karnataka is the only state where government intervention is more in Centrally-sponsored flagship programme, said  some officials.

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