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No poll duty for forest staff

The Forest department has urged the State Election Commission (SEC) to exempt forest guards and other officials of the department from election duty citing that their engagement would hamper wildlife

Published: 11th February 2017 02:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2017 04:10 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA: The Forest department has urged the State Election Commission (SEC) to exempt forest guards and other officials of the department from election duty citing that their engagement would hamper wildlife and forest protection works. This was stated by Principal of Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) S S Srivastava  on Friday.

“We have decided not to engage any forest officials and guards of  Bhitarkanika National Park and Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary, world’s largest rookery of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, as  the forest guards are deployed in protecting sea turtles in the marine sanctuary to prevent illegal fishing”, said Kanhu Charan Dhir, Sub- Collector of Kendrapara.

The Forest department is facing severe shortage of staff in 19 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks in the State and any diversion of staff or patrolling vehicles would compromise on wildlife  and forest conservation, said Sudhanshu Parida, an environmentalist  and secretary of district-unit of People for Animals.

State Election Commission secretary Rabindranath Sahoo said in  2009 an in 1998, the Election Commission of India had issued a standing order directing Chief Secretaries and Chief Election Officers of all the States  to exempt vehicles and staff of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries across the country from election duties. Forest  officials from wildlife parks and sanctuaries will not be posted on election duty for the forthcoming rural poll in Odisha, Sahoo added.

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