Comptroller and Auditor General report says their salary is not given on time
Mahouts and their assistants who help feed and maintain domestic elephants are “scarce” and the temporary employees who take care of elephants are paid a consolidated monthly salary of around Rs. 5,000.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India report published sometime ago, against the sanctioned 90 posts in each cadre, there were 43 mahouts and 76 kavadis (assistants) in the Madikeri division. Their salary was not disbursed on time. In the Dubare Elephant Camp of Madikeri, it was noticed, during inspection, that these employees were deprived of basic necessities, the report said.
The report said that free medical check-up, incentive for education of children, project allowance, insurance cover and other benefits as prescribed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, New Delhi, are not extended to Mahouts and Kavadis in Madikeri who constituted a skilled task force.
On the vacancies in the Forest Department, the CAG report said that against the overall sanctioned strength of 11,958 posts of different cadres, 2,929 posts were vacant (in March 2012). The vacancies (2,237) were acute in the cadre of assistant conservator of forest, range forest officers, foresters (deputy range forest officers), forest guards and forest watchers.
There was a large vacancy among the frontline staff — foresters, guards and watchers whose duties are critical for forest protection. Vacancies in frontline staff and surveyors had an adverse impact on the management of forests and their protection, which leads to offences, encroachment, illegal tree felling, and also affects survey and demarcation works.
The government, according to the CAG report, had said that notification had been issued to fill 262 posts of watchers and 596 guards. Appointments had been made to 300 posts of guards. It had said that 40 surveyors were recruited, but they resigned and the posts would be filled again.
As many as 63 range forest officers were recruited and counselling would be done in a day or two.
Further recruitment had been delayed due to the ban on all recruitment till recruitment rules to accommodate reservation in the Hyderabad Karnataka region are framed, a senior official said.