To strengthen their strike, forest guards resorted to lockout at Principal Chief Conservator Forest in Dehradun on Friday.
More than 350 forest guards participated in the tirade demanding inclusion in Sixth Pay Commission roll and promotions. They will further close the gates of Rajaji National Park from Monday.
Under the aegis of Uttarakhand Forest Guards Association, forest guards carried lockout. They shouted slogans against the state government. A total of 2,750 forest guards are working with the state. However, the total position of forest guards is 3,600.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, MM Kandwal president said, “For a state having approximately 65 percent forest cover, there are only 2700 forest guards. We are demanding from state government to include us in Sixth Pay Commission roll thereby granting promotions.”
Interestingly, the association has threatened to close the gates of Rajaji National Park. Kandwal confirmed that Rajaji will be shut for tourists from Monday. Besides, he said that if the state government will not accept their demands soon, they will also close the prestigious Jim Corbett National Park.
Notable, the forest fire season is at its peak in state. Particularly, Garhwal division is facing tough time combating forest fire. Under such circumstances when more than 800-hectare forest cover is destroyed due to forest fire, the strike is highly affecting the rescue operations.
Kandwal added, “Each forest guards covers around 1000 hectare area that is called his beat. Now that the forest guards are missing, several activities are hindered. This implies for the fact that no matter forest department boast of alternative modus of combating forest fire they do not have people on ground.”