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Forest security posts sought

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Non-gazetted Forest Service Association (ONFSA) has reiterated its demand for constitution of “forest security post” on lines of police stations in Orissa.

Generally, forest guards are deployed alone in deep jungles to report disturbing movements. Of late the lower cadre forest employees and beat houses, their official accommodations in forests, have become target of naxalites. “Lower cadre forest employees are vulnerable to attack of naxalites and smugglers than any other employees of State government. We have lost about five employees during last couple of years in attack of Maoists,” said ONFSA general secretary J. B. Pattnaik here on Monday.

Speaking on the sidelines of association’s 49th annual meeting, he said movement of forest guards in groups would lessen the risk of being attacked by naxalites, poachers and smugglers.

“The deployment of guards in dilapidated beat houses which are located in remote areas of forests should be stopped. Government should care for lives of lower level employees of forest department,” Mr. Pattnaik said. ONFSA said although State government had long announced additional remuneration to the tune 15 per cent of basic salary for forest guards working in naxal-infested district, the notification was yet to be implemented.

Their other demands include assured promotions in their service period, proper accommodation, proper fixation duty hours, enhancement in amount of insurance coverage, continuous training and filling up vacancies.

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