Bid to improve conservation, provide better protection

In an attempt to improve conservation measures and provide better protection for forest and wildlife in the State, the Forest Department has started recruitment of youths for the posts of Guard and Forester.

A.S. Balanathan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, told The Hindu that vacancies for the post of Guard numbering 240 and Forester totalling 80 were being filled. The recruitment was being done at the district level by District Forest Officers. Both Erode and Namakkal district had filled the posts.

Mr. Balanathan said the new recruits would fill the vacancies that arose in September last year. Similarly, the process for filling vacancies that arise from September this year would begin soon and preliminary work would be completed by December.

Mr. Balanathan said that for the post of Guard one should have passed Plus Two. In the case of Forester they should be degree holders.

The Department had also requested the State government to fill vacancies of Forest Rangers for which the State Public Service Commission would soon issue notification.

As part of welfare measures, the Forest Department had taken efforts to remove anomalies in pay scales of the field staff — Watchers, Guards, Foresters and Range Officers — Mr. Balanathan said. A few years ago a District Forest Officer had made a detailed study about the Watchers and Guards. It revealed that most of them were in their late 50s and unable to perambulate the interior and inaccessible forest areas owing to health problems.

Some of them had joined the department as temporary Plot Watchers. When their services were regularised, they were unable to give the correct date of birth. Owing to this problem, some of them were serving the department even after attaining superannuation.

The study also revealed that the problem was not confined to Tamil Nadu. It was prevalent all over the country.