Dipak Sarmah, an officer of the 1977 batch of the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), is the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Head of the Forest Force (HFF) . He will take over from B.K. Singh who retires on June 30. Mr. Sarmah is due to retire on December 31.
Mr. Sarmah, who hails from Assam and was allotted the Karnataka cadre of the IFoS, will be superseding C.S. Vedant of the 1976 batch, who is at present serving as Managing Director of the Karnataka Forest Industries Corporation.
Mr. Vedant had earlier challenged the appointment of Mr. Singh as the PCCF and HFF before the Bangalore Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal. Both Mr. Vedant and Mr. Singh belong to the same batch of the IFoS. Mr. Singh took charge on February 13 after the superannuation of A.K.Verma who retired on January 31. In its order, the CAT had observed that when senior officers retire, they should go out with their head held high and said Mr. Vedant should be considered for appointment as the next PCCF and HFF although it permitted Mr. Singh to continue as PCCF and HFF until his retirement on June 30.
The selection committee for the post of the PCCF and HFF, which met here a few days ago, decided in favour of Mr. Sarmah, given his credentials and service record. The committee comprises the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Department of Forests), the outgoing PCCF and HFF and a representative of the Union government who, in this case, was the PCCF and HFF of Maharashtra (A.P. Joshi).
Mr. Sarmah told The Hindu that being the PCCF and HFF would be a challenging task.
“I will do my best to meet the expectations of the government and the people of Karnataka,” he said.
The State has a good forest cover (23 per cent) although efforts should be made to increase it and bring it closer to the area recommended in the national policy (33 per cent). While the area under the Department of Forests (20 per cent) cannot be increased for various reasons, we can do our best to motivate people to undertake tree-planting. All efforts will be made to supply saplings to the people, he added.