Over 400 of them will take out rally in Bangalore today
They boycotted classes, staged demonstrations, shouted slogans, took out rallies and even wrote letters in blood. But, all their efforts went in vain.
Now, as a last resort, about 400 students of the College of Forestry in Sirsi and Ponnampet are descending on Bangalore on Monday to begin an indefinite fast to draw the Government's attention to their long-standing demand for making B.Sc. (Forestry) as the sole eligibility criterion for recruitment to the posts of Range Forest Officer (RFO) and Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF).
With more than 60 graduates and 25 postgraduates passing out of the two colleges coming under the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad and Bangalore, respectively, every year many of them are unable to pursue a career in their chosen field due to the 50 per cent ceiling imposed on recruitment of forestry graduates to the posts.
“The Government fills only 50 per cent of the RFO and ACF vacancies with forestry graduates. The remaining posts are filled by recruiting graduates from other streams. This has led to a large number of forestry graduates working as call centre employees and bank employees or even joining the Police Department as sub-inspectors. So, what is the purpose of studying forestry for four years?” asked Vijay Bhatt, a student of the College of Forestry, Sirsi.
Though the National Forest Policy of 1988 and the report of National Forest Commission submitted in 2006 make out a strong case for making B.Sc. (Forestry) as the sole eligibility criterion for recruitment to the posts of RFO and ACF, the State Government has been pursuing a policy “inimical” to the future of the forestry graduates, according to the students.
Secondly, the State Government has provided 100 per cent reservation for graduates from agricultural and allied sciences passing out of agricultural universities for filling posts related to their educational qualification such as Assistant Agriculture Officer, Assistant Horticulture Officer, Veterinary Officer and Assistant Sericulture Officer to inculcate professionalism in their respective disciplines. “Why is the Government discriminating against forestry graduates?” secretary of the Karnataka Forestry Graduates and Students Association Harshavardhan M. said.
About 400 students from both the colleges will take out a procession from the Bangalore City railway station to Freedom Park on Monday, where they will undertake fast-unto-death.
“We will not budge until the Government issues an order making B.Sc. (Forestry) the sole eligibility criterion for appointment to the posts of RFO and ACF,” said Mr. Harshavardhan.