In a significant development, the Maharashtra Forest minister, Babanrao Pachpute postponed the controversial meeting of senior forest officials at Nagpur on December 25, on the eve of Christmas Day, indefinitely, after the HT exposed the minister and his department.
The HT had exposed the minister for convening a meeting of senior forest officials on Christmas Day (a national holiday) at Nagpur to attend the wedding of super forest official's son, in its Thursday issue.
The minister and several forest officials are supposed to come to Nagpur on December 25 to attend the marriage of Abhijit, son of the PCCF, Jwala Prasad.
Abhijit, a software engineer working in the US, will marry Harshada, also software professional, at Nagpur. The minister, who had favoured Jwala Prasad by promoting him a few months back by superseding three senior officials, made a point to attend the wedding. But at the cost of state exchequer. By fixing a meeting at Nagpur on the eve of Christmas, the official holiday, he tried to oblige around 40 other senior officials for ensuring that the state government would bear the cost of the travel and accommodation of these officers.
As HT exposed it, the forest headquarters in Nagpur postponed the meeting by issuing a letter on Friday. "The meeting that was convened by the minister on December 25 has been postponed. The new date for the meeting will be informed soon," the letter said.
Earlier, the action of the minister was criticised by a large cross section of people, NGOs and trade union organisations, including the state Forest Employees Association.