For forest officials this could be the real jungle raj but for Maharashtra Forest Minister Babanrao Pachpute, it is time to get serious on the Christmas Day.
The minister will be in Nagpur to attend wedding ceremony of the son of principle chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Jwala Prasad on December 25 and he found the day fit to call for a meeting of all the forest officials when the other offices will be closed due to the Christmas holiday.
The way this meeting is being convened at Nagpur on trivial issues, it seem that almost all the senior forest officials, along with the forest minister, want a safe passage to attend the wedding of the son of super sleuth of forest department at the cost of the government exchequer.
Curiously, Jwala Prasad, the PCCF of the state, will be on leave during the period due to the marriage of his son. According to a moderate estimate, if all the senior forest officials come in Nagpur on December 25 to attend the meeting from Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati and other regions of the state, the government has to spend around Rs 10 lakh as TA bills for the officials, the minister and his staff.
However, a few officials wondered why the meeting was so urgent on a holiday and not when the minister was in Nagpur for 15 days, till December 15 for the winter session of Maharashtra state legislature.
The letter for the proposed meeting was issued by the office of the chief conservator of forests (Conservation) on December 15. As many as 13 items were kept in the agenda for the meeting.
These include: the forest budget of 2006-2007, implementation of Sant Tukaram Vangram scheme and joint forest management, state-level forest sports competition, forest welfare funds, fulfilling of vacant posts and creation of new posts and forest conservation.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Bababrao Pachpute, the forest minister, however, justified for holding a meeting on the holiday. “We can hold an official meeting on a holiday. It has also happened in the past. I cannot understand what is the harm in holding a meeting on a holiday,” he said. When the marriage ceremony of the son of PCCF on the same day was pointed out, he said, “It is just a coincidence.”