New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Forest officers must be the voice of the voiceless and perform their duties as trustees and not owners of the country’s natural resources, Union Minister for Environment and Forest Bhupender Yadav said on Monday.
Addressing the trainee probation officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS), the minister also said that forest officers should accept the local communities living in forests as partners in their efforts to protect and conserve the forest cover and its flora and fauna, and refrain from working with a “feudal approach”.
“The IFS officers have to be the voice of the voiceless. And who are the voiceless? They are our wildlife, trees, rivers, and forest. You have to become their voice. And for their protection and conservation, you have to work,” Yadav said.
“While doing all this, you must take local communities along with you. They are the partners in your conservation efforts,” he said.
As an empowered, capable and competent workforce of the government system, forest officers have to be proactively community-centric, citizen-oriented and facilitators in their approach while dealing with the community in forest landscapes in their jurisdiction, Yadav said.
Forest officers must work with an approach that is “earnestly humane” and sensitive to the “aspirations and needs” of the local community, he stressed.
The minister was virtually addressing 64 IFS probationer trainees of the 2020 batch who are undergoing training at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun.
Noting that most of these probationers come from an engineering background, Yadav said, “I congratulate you and it is a matter of concern to me as well. You will have to rise above your engineering attitude.” “You are not just an engineer. As IFS officers, you are forest managers, wildlife protectors, law enforcers, administrators and scientists too. You will have to bring all these traits in your personality. To be effective in your job, you will have to acquire these new skills and knowledge, going beyond your educational background,” he said.
“You have become an officer and completed (your) training. It’s good, not enough,” he added.
The minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country is aspiring for transformative advancement on all fronts of development while simultaneously dealing with challenges and crises on various environmental frontiers and their manifestations like climate change, land degradation, pollution and biodiversity loss.
Hence, the role of forest officers in the present era becomes even more important and critical in taking forward and practising sustainable development, he said.
Yadav reiterated India’s commitments and targets for carbon sequestration, zero-carbon emission dateline, proportion of solar power and other environmentally efficient sources in energy mix, conservation of biodiversity, combating desertification and restoration of degraded land and asked the officers to come forward with creative and innovative ideas to achieve them.
Addressing the officers, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey said there are many areas of interaction with the communities residing in forest landscapes and other people where an empathetic, responsive, facilitation approach has to be the mainstay of conduct and functional discharge of duties of the IFS officers.
The entire process requires “utmost sincerity and a citizen-centric approach with a humane approach”, he said. PTI PK DIV DIV
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Source: The Print