Appointment of DoF DG delayed

Kathmandu, July 27

Although the post of director general of the Department of Forest has fallen vacant since July 19, the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation is yet to appoint a new DG as there is no forest minister in the country currently.

Former forest minister Agni Prasad Sapkota had submitted his resignation along with all ministers from the CPN-Maoist Centre before the post of DG fell vacant. It could take at least two more weeks for a new minister to be appointed as the process of forming a new government has just begun.

According to the ministry, a new DG is customarily appointed by the forest minister within two or three days after the post falls vacant.

Spokesperson at the ministry Yajnanath Dahal said the appointment of a new DG could take more than two weeks.

“A forest minister must be appointed before the post of DG is filled,” Dahal told The Himalayan Times, adding, “Until a new government is formed and a forest minister is appointed, there is nothing that can be done but to wait, most likely for more than two weeks.” Dahal said, adding that a new DG for the Department of Forest would most likely be appointed around mid-August.

Meanwhile, candidates for the post have intensified their lobbying. According to the forest department, Regional Director at Eastern Regional Forest Directorate Man Bahadur Khadka is the strongest candidate for the post.

Although Khadka has not formally announced candidacy for the post, a faction of foresters close to CPN-Maoist Centre are lobbying for his appointment. An official at the department said that if the new forest minister comes from the CPN-MC, Khadka will likely be appointed as new the DG.

A source seeking anonymity said, “A large number of foresters support Khadka because of his professionalism and their faith that he can bring reforms in the department. If the new forest minister comes from the CPN-MC, Khadka will undoubtedly be appointed for the post.”

Should the new forest minister be from the Nepali Congress, Ministry of Population and Environment’s Joint Secretary Ram Prasad Lamsal will likely be appointed as he is also the senior-most candidate for the post.

Similarly, DG of the Department of Plant Resources Raj Dev Yadav, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Bijay Raj Paudyal, Regional Director of Mid Regional Forest Directorate Akhileshwor Lal Karna, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Pem Narayan Kandel, and deputy DG at Department of Forest Ganesh Jha are also eyeing the post.