Unwilling to stir up a hornet’s nest, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been deliberately deferring proposals to make political appointments to various government boards and corporations. But in a silent move, he has reconstituted the State Wildlife Board by appointing new members. The reconstitution has set tongues wagging in political circles, considering the identity of the people appointed to the board.
Siddaramaiah has appointed Home Minister K J George’s son Rana George as member of the Wildlife Board, while former Indian cricket team captain Anil Kumble, who was vice president of the board, has been axed. Besides, the CM has also cleared appointments of other members to the board, drawn from various professional backgrounds.
The Wildlife Board, which functions under the state Forest Department, is responsible for clearing various forest-related projects, including those proposed by the Infrastructure, Tourism, and Energy Departments.
Sources in the Forest Department told Bangalore Mirror that Rana George had been trying for a position in the State Wildlife Board and had personally moved the Chief Minister previously. He was, however, appointed as honorary Wildlife Warden of Mysore District.
The State Wildlife Board was first constituted by the previous BJP government and it had appointed cricketer Anil Kumble as its vice president. The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, however, has brought in changes by abolishing some of the posts. “While the CM is the president, the forest minister is the vice president. Ten people from various professional backgrounds with enough experience in wildlife conservation have been appointed as members. Rana George is just a member like anybody else,” clarified a forest official.
“The appointments of Rana George and others were made to the board last month and the first meeting of the board was held recently. The members, under chairman Siddaramaiah, approved some of the projects,” explained a senior officer of the Forest Department.
Previously, allegations were levelled against Rana when he applied to the CM to be included in the Wildlife Board. Rana was in the spotlight for illegally entering a protected area, along with his friends, under Bandipur Forest limits. But he clarified that he had visited the forest legally by obtaining all permissions. In support of his candidature, Rana had also listed works he had done in his capacity as honorary wildlife warden of Chikmagalur for about 2-3 months during the BJP regime.