Eyebrows are being raised and questions asked regarding the factors responsible for the last moment exclusion of some conservationists and wildlife experts who were officially informed about a month ago that they were being “nominated” by the Madhya Pradesh Forest department for the State Wildlife Board proposed to be reconstituted by the Madhya Pradesh Government.
Ultimately, after dragging the process of reconstituting the State Wildlife Board for a couple of months, the Madhya Pradesh Government on Saturday, 3 August 2019, issued the gazette notification about the reconstituted State Wildlife Board.
The Additional Secretary Madhya Pradesh Forest department, through a letter (no. f/15-5/2006/10-2 dated 27 April 2019), had carried forward the process of constituting the State Wildlife Board in the last week of April this year.
On 8 July, the State Chief Wildlife Warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Dr. U Prakasham had sent by email and also got delivered the hard copy of a letter, addressed jointly to nine persons informing them that the Madhya Pradesh State Wildlife Board is proposed to be reconstituted. “While nominating you as a member in this, a signed copy of your complete bio-data (curriculum vitae) is required”, the letter said and carried the instruction that the biodata be sent immediately by email to email@example.com so that it could be forwarded to the Government.
The letter of 8 July 2019 was addressed to the following persons:
1. Dr M K Ranjitsinh, Wildlife Trust of India
2. Dharmendra Shukla, Retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Madhya Pradesh
3. Dr. Suhas Kumar, Retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Madhya Pradesh
4. Dr. Surendra Tiwari, Director/partner Dainik Nai Dunia
5. Khageshwar Nayak, retired IFS
6. Ganesh Pandey, Senior Journalist
7. Lalit Shastri, Senior Journalist
8. Ajay Shankar Dubey
9. Dr Raka Arya, Associate Professor, National Law Institute University
Reconstituted Wildlife Board
The State Chief Minister is the Chairman and the State Forest Minister is the Vice Chairman of the reconstituted State Wildlife Board.
Nominated at the top of the list in this high powered body under the Environmentalist/Expert in the field of Conservation category is senior journalist Rashid Kidwai. He has been recognised for “special interest in wildlife” as per the gazette notification.
According to Wikipedia, Rasheed Kidwai is a writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, Sonia, A Biography. He also wrote a book based on Congress Party headquarters; 24, Akbar Road.
For Kidwai’s introduction: Click the Observer Research Foundation page.
Others inducted as member in the newly constituted Wildlife Board under the Environmentalist/Expert in the field of Conservation category are:
1. Valmik Thapar, Wildlife expert, New Delhi
2. Krishna Kumar Singh, special interest in wildlife, Gadhi Semria, district Sidhi,
3. Dr. B.M.S. Rathod, Retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
4. Dr. Suhas Kumar, Retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
5. Brijendra Singh, special interest in wildlife, New Delhi
6. Khageshwar Nayak, Retired Indian Forest Service
7. The senior-most Field Director of National Park
The ex-officio members of the reconstituted Board are:
- Chief Secretary, Madhya Pradesh
- Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary -State Forest Department and State Scheduled Tribe Welfare department
- Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and head of the State Forest department
- Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation
- Additional Director General of Police and Chairman Madhya Pradesh Tiger Cell
- A representative of the Army, not less than the rank of Brigadier (to be nominated by the Government of India)
- Director, State Veterinary Department
- Director , Department of Fisheries
Director Wildlife, Government of India or his/her representative
- Representative of Director Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
Representative of Botanical Survey of India
- Representative of Zoological Survey of India
- Principal Chief Conservator of Wildlife and Chief Wildllife Warden of MP (ex-officio Member Secretary)
MLAs nominated to the Board are:
- Lakshman Singh, MLA Chachouda, district Guna, MP
- Sanjay Uike, MLA Baihar, district Blaghat, MP
- Phundelal Singh Marko, MLA Pushrajgarh, district Anuppur, MP
Non-Government organisations connected with wildlife included as Members
- Representative of World Wide Fund for Nature
- Representative of Bombay Natural History Society, and
- Wildlife Trust of India
In the reconstituted body, those who have been dropped from among those who had been informed by the Government in the first fortnight of July this year that they were being “nominated” to the Wildlife Board are:
Dharmendra Shukla, Dr. Surendra Tiwari, Ganesh Pandey, Lalit Shastri, and Dr Raka Arya.
In place of Dr M K Ranjitsinh, whose name was there in the original list, his organisation – Wildlife Trust of India – has been nominated as member.
Ajay Shankar Dubey is another person who also figured in this list. According to an earlier newspaper report, he had expressed his unwillingness to join this body.
Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972, the mandate of the Wildlife Advisory Board is to advise the State Government in the selection of areas to be declared as sanctuaries, National Parks and closed areas and the administration thereof; in formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of the wild life and specified plants; in any matter relating to the amendment of any Schedule; in relation to the measures to be taken for harmonizing the needs of the tribals and other dwellers of the forest with the protection and conservation of wild life; and in any other matter connected with the protection of wild life which may be referred to it by the State Government.