Ranjan tipped to take over as next PCCF
Kundal-backed IFS lobby blocking Tiwari’s pension settlement case
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Well placed sources in the political establishment insisted that Vinod Ranjan, who has headed several key departments in Forest sector and has been functioning as Director Forest Protection Force (FPF) since 01-05-2010, was “most likely” to take over as PCCF on December 31st evening. He would be tried on experimental basis and confirmed as PCCF by the Cabinet in a few months subject to the satisfaction of
Mian Altaf Ahmad. Minister incharge Forest
1975-batch IFS officer Jagdish Kishwan, who functioned as PCCF in J&K prior to his central deputation on 01-10-2010, is currently the seniormost officer of J&K cadre. He has been functioning as Additional Director General Wildlife in union Ministry of Environment and
Forest since October 2011. Since he has already served a term as PCCF and is reaching superannuation on 30-09-2012, he is unlikely to be recalled to succeed Tiwari.
Ranjan stands at number three on the top of the seniority list. In addition to Kishwan’s central deputation, he has a couple of other advantages. His immediate junior and 1978-batch IFS officer, Pritam Chand Kapur, who has been serving as Director of J&K State Forestry Research Institute (SFRI) since October 2010, is due to retire in next two months---February 29th, 2012.
Ranjan has not enjoyed enviable reputation throughout his career. However, unlike many in the department, including Kapur and Tiwari, he does not have any departmental inquiries or corruption related matters pending against him in State Vigilance Organisation. He has been calling himself a “victim of whisper campaign”. Ranjan, nevertheless, has a veritable headache. A high level committee, headed by Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, has lately elevated two additional PCCFs, namely A K Srivastava and Lal Chand, to the grade of PCCF (Rs 75,500---Rs 80,000).
In case the state government decided to give more weightage to “suitability” than seniority, both, Srivastava as well as Lal Chand, could emerge as a threat to Ranjan. Chief Minister obviously has the final say and the Cabinet would only perform a formality, but men of consequence in the government insist that Mr Omar Abdullah had ‘no particular likes and dislikes” in
“Chief Minister is normally in favour of maintaining seniority. He favoured Mr Madhav Lal as Chief Secretary last year when several Ministers in the Cabinet and other political leaders had a variety of other choices. This time around, he is most likely to go by the choice of Forest Minister Mian Altaf Sahab”, a highly placed government functionary observed.
1980-batch IFS officer, Srivastava, has been functioning as Inspector General of Wildlife in union Ministry of Environment and
Forest since 01-04-2009. In J&K, he last served as Chief Wildlife Warden. Reaching superannuation on 30-11-2014, he is left with three more years of service. Among all competitors, Srivastava alone is a serious threat to Ranjan in case Minister of Forest did not favour Ranjan during his “probation”.
The last in the PCCFs’ list is none other than son of the soil, Lal Chand, who has been serving as Chairman of J&K State Pollution Control Board since 01-05-2010. Retiring on 31-01-2013, he is still left with over a year of service. According to authoritative sources, his candidacy would heavily depend on strenuous lobbying of SC/ST lobby of
that has been simultaneously projecting him for the vacancy of a member in J&K State Public Service Commission. Jammu
Forest, Mian Altaf Ahmad, told Early Times that a decision with regard to the appointment of the new PCCF would be taken only after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s return from overseas on Wednesday. “I am having an open mind. I’m sure, the picture would become clear after my discussion with Chief Minister tomorrow”, Mian Altaf said. He said that the incumbent would be picked up from among Ranjan, Srivastava and Lal Chand, all holding the grade of PCCF.
Meanwhile, bureaucratic sources revealed that a particular lobby of IFS officers, allegedly enjoying support of former Chief Secretary and today’s MLC of Congress party, B R Kundal, was at work to block settlement of Mr Tiwari’s pension case. According to these sources, efforts were underway to trouble the outgoing PCCF as certain officials were stressing on the fact Vigilance clearance to Mr Tiwari could not be granted until he was cleared in a departmental inquiry. Government had exonerated Mr Tiwari in a matter of alleged misuse of official position, in the matter of promotions in Department of Wildlife Protection over a decade ago but ordered a departmental inquiry. The inquiry did not proceed as Mr Tiwari got it stayed from court with the argument that the nominated inquiry officer was “biased” against him.
Mr Kundal, who headed an inquiry in Ghulam Nabi Azad’s regime, held Mr Tiwari guilty in several matters and recommended detailed investigations by SVO and Crime Branch. However, SVO and CB failed to establish any charges against him during his functioning as head of IWDP and PCB. Interestingly, Mr Tiwari is facing his career’s last official meeting with none other than Kundal at Legislative Council tomorrow. Almost all officers of the rank of PCCF, additional PCCF, CCF and Conservators of Forest (CF) would be present in the House committee meeting.