Pressure on CM to change Anand Singh’s portfolio

The Forest Minister faces charges of violating Forest Act

The allotment of portfolio of Forest and Environment to B.S. Anand Singh, who faces charges of violating the Forest Conservation Act, has raised eyebrows with some leaders from Ballari warning of agitation and an online petition being floated demanding his removal.

Social activist and founder-president of Samaj Parivartan Samudaya S.R. Hiremath, who has for long fought illegal mining cases, called Mr. Singh’s appointment as Forest Minister as “a dangerous precedent.” He argued that Mr. Singh should either offer to resign or Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa should drop him from the Cabinet. “We are also exploring legal possibilities against Mr. Singh’s induction into the ministry,” Mr. Hiremath told The Hindu.

Quoting former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, Mr. Hiremath said he had advised against giving ministerial berths to leaders against whom police investigation was done and chargesheets had been filed.

In Ballari, seeking change in Mr. Singh’s portfolio, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has warned an agitation. In a joint press release, the party said that that the Chief Minister has insulted the entire State by handing over the forest portfolio to Mr. Singh who was facing serious charges of violating of the Forest Conservation Act.

“Mr. Singh is accused of illegal mining and destruction of forest resources and handing over the Forest Department to him is simply like handing over the house key to a thief. The people would not tolerate such a move,” the release said.

Meanwhile, the United Conservation Movement has launched an online petition seeking change of the Forest Minister. The petition seeks answers on how the forest officials who were supposed to pursue cases against Mr. Singh, as they would have to report to him now. “What could be more ridiculous than this?” the petition sought to know.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:32:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pressure-on-cm-to-change-anand-singhs-portfolio/article30813299.ece

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