NEW DELHI: At loggerheads with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests over issues related to allowing Jallikattu and others, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) chairman Major General (retd) Dr R M Kharb has resigned citing bad health and issues with the ministry.
The AWBI under Kharb had approached the Supreme Court against the Central government’s notification to allow Jallikattu in January this year.
The apex court had then pulled up the ministry for issuing notification and had ordered that the ban would continue.
In an email to the AWBI members, Kharb, whose term was to end in February 2017, said he has sent his resignation to the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests & Climate Change on December 23.
He said the Ministry has accepted his resignation and nominated the Director General of Forests and Special Secretary in the Environment Ministry as the AWBI chairman from December 24, 2016, to February 28, 2017.
“I would also like to share with you that my old injury to lower back (slipped disc) has got aggravated due to a sudden slip fall and I have been advised complete rest by my doctor. In view of the above, I am not in a position to discharge responsibilities of AWBI chairman,” he said in the email.
Hinting at differences of opinion with the ministry, Kharb further said, “Moreover, lately for some time, I have not been feeling very comfortable as chairman due to reasons well known to you all. It is also time for change, to bring in a more dynamic person as chairman as I have been on the scene for far too long. Therefore, I have decided to resign from the AWBI and have forwarded my resignation to the Secretary, MoEF&CC.”
An AWBI member said Kharb was unhappy with the working of the ministry and it was one of reasons for leaving the job. Kharb was the first veterinarian to have been appointed as the AWBI chairman in the last 50 years.
In March, the Environment Ministry led by then minister Prakash Javadekar had issued show-cause notice to the AWBI questioning its locus stand on the matter. There have been other incidents when the AWBI and ministry were in disagreement.
The ministry’s move to remove the AWBI from the Committee for the Purpose of Control And Supervision of Experiments on Animals, a committee under it to ensure that animals are not subjected to unnecessary pain before during experiments, was also opposed by the board. Kharb had also shot off a letter in this regard.