Graduates and students of the Bachelor of Science in Forestry staged a protest in Shivamogga on Monday, February 12, demanding fair opportunities in the recruitment process of the Forest Department. They protested against the decrease in reservation for forest graduates in the recruitment of the Range Forest Officers from 75% to 50%.
The students of forestry from Keladi Shivappa Nayaka University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences took out a jatha from the Science Field to the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Along the way, they raised slogans demanding justice for forestry students. They said they studied nature for years but left with no future with the recent policy changes.
The percentage of seats reserved for forestry graduates while filling up the posts of Assistant Conservator of Forests and Range Forest officers had been reduced from 75% to 50%. “We take admission to BSc. in forestry after undertaking the tough entrance examination conducted by the Karnataka Examination Authority and studying forestry exclusively for three years. There is no logic in denying us opportunities,” the protesters said.
They also said the Indian Forest Policy 1988, Commonwealth Forestry Reports, and Rhio Earth Summit 1992 have highlighted the need for encouraging professional education in forestry to conserve forests. “Understanding the necessity of professionals, the government should provide opportunities to the students of forestry,” they said.
The protesters also raised objections to the recommendations of the T.M. Vijay Bhaskar-headed Administrative Reforms Commission that favoured the filling up of Deputy Range Forest Officers (Dy. RFO) through promotions. The protesters urged the State government not to implement the recommendation and wanted the Dy. RFO posts filled through direct recruitment.