PASIGHAT, 24 Jul: Raising question over transparency in the process of departmental promotion, the Arunachal Pradesh Undergraduate Deputy Forest Rangers’ Union has demanded that the state government “immediately roll back the promotion order issued in respect of 12 deputy forest rangers (DFR), promoting them to the post of range forest officers (RFO) during 2021.”
The union alleged that the higher authorities of the state’s forest department promoted the 12 DFRs to the posts of RFOs in two batches during that year “without properly verifying their educational qualification certificates.”
The state government through a notification issued
on 8 January, 2020 enforced the Range Forest Officer Recruitment Rules-2019 to regulate the method of recruitment of RFOs.
As per the rule, holding a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, agriculture, or forestry for promotion to the post of RFOs within the department has been made compulsory.
The union alleged that the certificates submitted by three of the promoted officials “are found to be suspicious and obtained in an illegal way.”
“They allegedly obtained their BSc degrees from different universities outside the state while they were on office duty and drawing regular salaries,” the union said.
Referring to the BSc degree certificates of the three promoted officials, the union said that, while one of them submitted a degree certificate obtained from a Maharashtra-based ‘National Open University’, the second and the third ones submitted certificates obtained from ‘South West University’ in Pune and Bundelkhand University in Jhansi, respectively.
The union’s secretary had filed applications through the RTI Act to the three universities for verification of the BSc documents obtained and submitted by the three promoted officials.
“While the first two universities are found to be nonexistent as the RTI applications returned undelivered, the registrar of Bundelkhand University, who received the RTI application, is yet to furnish any information in this regard,” the union said.
The environment & forest joint secretary in a letter to the university authorities clearly mentioned that the three officials were on office duty while they were pursuing their BSc degrees, and that they were not given permission for higher study, or to appear in the examination.
“As per records available in this department, the officials were on duty and had not taken any prior approval from the competent authority, nor had they availed any study leave for the pursuit of higher education. As the course involved practical examination, it is not clear how the practical examination was cleared without physical attendance,” the joint secretary noted in the letter to DFR Ingong Pabin in response to his RTI appeal.
The union also demanded that the government conducts “proper verification of the suspicious degree certificates submitted by the officials.”