Karnataka’s forest officer violates SC rule on inspection bungalows

A senior forest official said assistant conservator of forest should be suspended immediately for misusing his powers by taking his friends to use the bungalow for non official purposes

Bengaluru: The pictures of an assistant conservator of forest of Belgaum Forest Circle, Sangamesh Prabhakar, enjoying his day out with friends at Shiroli forest inspection bungalow in Karnataka went viral on the social media.

A section of the senior forest officers said that the assistant conservator of forest used the official rest house in gross defiance of the Supreme Court order, which bars public from using forest inspection bungalows. “Such premises are meant to be used by the forest officials on duty,” they said.

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The said bungalow falls in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district in Karnataka. A senior forest official said that Prabhakar should be suspended immediately for misusing his powers and authority for bringing his friend to use the bungalow for non official purposes.

“This is a gross defiance of not only the order of the apex court but also misusing the authority. Action must be taken against him,” the official said.

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Principal chief conservator of forests and head of forest force, Brijesh Kumar Dixit said that he will look into the issue. “The matter will be inquired into. I have received the pictures,” he said.

The Supreme Court order of 2018 said, “Forest Rest Houses / Inspection Bungalows located within the forest area including the Protected Areas shall not be transferred to private and commercial entities in the name of public – private partnership or by whatever name such an arrangement is called, for promotion of any form of tourism including Ecotourism..”

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The order also stated, “Forest officers are required to camp inside the forests where no alternate accommodation is available. Forest Rest Houses / Inspection Bungalows are facilities created for camping of forest officers primarily for discharge of their duties connected with conservation, protection and management of forests and wildlife.”

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