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Society is wrongly ignoring importance of forests: Murmu

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President Murmu addresses Convocation Ceremony of IFS Probationers

By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 24 Apr: President Droupadi Murmu participated in the convocation ceremony, today, of Indian Forest Service (IFS) probationers after completion of their training course at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, here. The Convocation of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) Probationers at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy was held in the historic Convocation Hall, Forest Research Institute, here. On this occasion, the President also presented certificates and medals to the probationers, followed by her address.

On this occasion, 99 IFS officers of the 2022-24 course passed out and will be joining forest services in various states as per the cadres allocated to them.

While congratulating all the trainee officers of the 2022 batch of the Indian Forest Service, Droupadi Murmu observed that that there are 10 women officers in this batch. She asserted that women are a symbol of progressive change in society. The National Forest Academy has played a very important role in the field of environment. She also stated that the society is making the mistake of forgetting the importance of forests. Forests are life givers. The reality is that forests have preserved life on earth, she asserted.

The President said that there is a lot of discussion about the Anthropocene Age, which is the period of human-centric development. During this period, disastrous results have emerged along with development. Unsustainable exploitation of resources has brought humanity to a point where the standards of development have to be revaluated. She stressed on the importance of understanding that the humans are not the owners of the earth’s resources, they are the trustees. The priorities should be eco-centric along with anthropocentric. She added that, in many parts of the world, the loss of forest resources has occurred very rapidly. Destruction of forests is in a way destruction of humanity. It is a well known fact that conservation of earth’s biodiversity and natural beauty is a very important task which has to be done very quickly.

Murmu said that human life can be saved from the crisis through conservation and promotion of forests and wildlife. The damage can be repaired at a faster pace with the help of Science and Technology. She emphasised that the chariot of development has two wheels – tradition and modernity. Today, human society is bearing the brunt of many environmental problems. One of the main reasons for this is a special type of modernity, the root of which is the exploitation of nature. Traditional knowledge is neglected in this process.

The President said that tribal society has made the eternal laws of nature the basis of its life. People of this society conserve nature. But, under the impulse of unbalanced modernity, some people consider the tribal community and their collective wisdom to be primitive. Tribal society has no role in climate change but the burden of its ill effects is disproportionately more on them. She added that it is very important to understand the importance of the knowledge accumulated by tribal society over centuries and use it to improve the environment. The President urged IFS officers to spend time among the tribal people in the field and earn their affection and trust. She said that they should learn from the good practices of tribal society. She also urged them to take ownership of their responsibilities and become role models.

The President said that the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries increased the demand for timber and other forest products. New rules, regulations and methods of forest use were adopted to cope with the demand. To implement such rules and regulations, the Imperial Forest Service, the predecessor service of the Indian Forest Service, was formed. The mandate of that service was not to protect tribal society and forest wealth. Their mandate was to promote the objectives of the British Raj by exploiting India’s forest resources to the maximum.

Referring to the mass hunting of wild animals during the British period, the President said that when she visits museums where animal skins or severed heads adorn the walls, she feels that those exhibits are telling the story of the decline of human civilisation. The President expressed confidence that the officers of the Indian Forest Service had become completely free from the colonial mentality and outlook of the former Imperial Forest Service. She stated that IFS officers not only have to conserve and augment India’s natural resources but also use the traditional knowledge in the interest of humanity.

On this occasion, Governor Lt General Gurmit Singh (Retd) also congratulated the IFS probationers on their success and said that they are stepping into the hallowed annals of the Indian Forest Service, and thereby embracing a noble calling to safeguard the environment, preserve the natural resources, and ensure sustainable development for generations to come. He said that the environment is an integral part of the economy and that the communities and the health of future generations, so it is important that they include environmental considerations in all aspects of development planning and decision making. He expressed hope that the new officers will ensure active participation of stakeholders and promote dialogue as well as strive to empower communities to become nature-dependent stewards of resources.

Dr Jagmohan Sharma, Director, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, in his address, informed the gathering that all the Indian Forest Service officers in independent India and around 365 forest officers from 14 other countries have been trained in this institution. He further stated that a total of 101 officer trainees consisting of 99 Indian Forest Service Probationers and two Foreign Trainees from Royal Govt of Bhutan have completed the training course. Out of these, 34 officers have secured more than 75 percent marks in the aggregate, thereby qualifying to get the Honours Diploma.  He added that the officers are trained in various aspects of forestry and governance to meet the expectations of the service, including training with the various other institutions and NGOs. He advised the young Probationers to work with utmost sincerity and devotion and do their best for securing livelihood of the forest dependent people.

Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Radha Raturi and a large number of senior level officers attended the Convocation from the Central and State Government, besides the family members of the officers who passed out today.

Mohd Shaik declared topper of IFS batch

By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 24 Apr: At the Convocation Ceremony held today at the FRI Auditorium with President Droupadi Murmu as the Chief Guest, IFS probationers who had shown outstanding achievements were presented different prizes and awards. Mohammed Abdul Rawoof Shaik of Andhra Pradesh Cadre was declared the topper of the batch. 

Varadaraj Gaonkar, allocated Odisha Cadre, was declared as Best Forester. AGMUT cadre officer Urvashi Jain was declared as topper in Core Forestry Subjects. The P Srinivas Memorial Prize was won by AGMUT cadre officer Karthikeyan V who also won the Sanjay Singh Memorial Prize.

In all, 19 prizes were awarded for academic performance in Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), while 3 awards were given for performance in PGDEL. In all, 12 IFS officers were honoured with 22 prizes in various categories. Three officers have been allocated the Uttarakhand cadre. They are Akash Gangwar, Rahul Mishra and Tarun S.