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MOEF Babus misguide media, political bosses in Govt

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New Delhi, June 26: The officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) are misguiding media and their political bosses to hide their mistakes.

The matter is related to the proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

MOEF Babus misguide media, political bosses in Govt

IG, Forest on March 7 sent a draft of proposed amendments to Indian Forest Act, 1927 in English to different states and asked them to get feedback from the stakeholders, a large number of whom are rural people and tribals, by

The glaring mistake was highlighted by Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (ABVKA) Joint General Secretary Vishnu Kant and ABVKA's Central Representative in Delhi Suresh Kulkarni in their meeting with MOEF Prakash Javadekar.

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They told the Minister that "as a standard practice for such consultative work, the Centre avails Hindi as well as English text of the draft. In this matter, only English version was provided. It is very difficult for stakeholders, especially the Janjatis (Scheduled Tribes) in north India to understand and give their response based on English text on any issue such greatly concerning to them".

A Hindustan Times report quoted a MOEF official as saying that "we have only asked for views of state governments, so (sending the draft in) English is fine".

However, it seems that the official deliberately misguided the media to cover up the bureaucratic mistake.

One India is in possession of the copy of IG, Forest, MOEF, Noyal Thomas' letter dated March 7, 2019 to all states that clearly shows the letter was not meant solely for feedback of the states but it clearly asks the states for consultations with all stakeholders.

The 2nd paragraph of the letter says: The Draft Amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 in pdf format is being sent through email to all State Governments/State Forest Departments. A copy of same is also enclosed. It is requested that the State Government may have state level consultations with all stakeholders including NGOs/Civil Society and based on consultations and feedbacks furnish the consolidated comments of State Government on the proposed amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 within 90 days of time from the date of issuance of this letter.

This shows how the bureaucracy is misguiding the media and the political bosses in the government as well.

The ABVKA has written a letter and demanded the Centre should first notify the National Forest Policy, which is pending in the MoEF since 2017, before amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

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Letter addressed by ABVKA to the minister, MoEF further says that the proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 encroach in the domain of the PESA-1996 and the FRA-2006, which have great concerns for the Janjatis.

The ABVKA has also objected that the MOEF has not given enough time for consultations with the stakeholders stating that the MoEF wants to finish the process in 20 days for which complete three months were provided.

"No meaningful consultations can be held in such a short time and in absence of Hindi version of the draft, " the letter says.

The MOEF letter had asked all States and UTs to send their feedbacks on or before June 7. This process could start only after that as the entire period of stipulated for consultation passed in general elections in the country. Now, states are trying to complete this process by the end of June.

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