NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic and procedural delays in the payment of exam fee amounting to around Rs 50 crore has impeded the recruitment of 211 forest guards by the severely short-staffed Delhi forest department, according to officials.
Hearing a plea moved by lawyer Aditya Prasad, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in July 2019 ordered the department to fill up vacant posts at the earliest.
According to officials, the government outsourced online testing and assessment services to EdCIL India Limited in November 2019, taking them out of the purview of the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, and issued an advertisement in December to fill up 226 vacant sanctioned posts of four forest rangers, 211 forest guards and 11 wildlife guards.
EdCIL, a miniratna public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, conducted the exam for forest rangers and wildlife guards in March last year. The final results were declared in January 2021.
"The wildlife guards have joined duty and they are looking after wildlife rescue operations. The rangers are undergoing an 18-month-long training. However, the pandemic and procedural delays in releasing the exam fee amounting to more than `50 crore to the testing agency has impeded the recruitment of forest guards," an official said.