Two candidates in race for post of TCN general manager

Kathmandu, February 28

Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has interviewed two candidates for the post of general manager at Timber Corporation Nepal.

As per the existing legal provision, only a forester with an experience of minimum 10 years should be appointed general manager.

According to a source at the ministry, joint secretaries and director general of the Department of Forests, Krishna Prasad Acharya, interviewed the two candidates — Damodar Sharma and Raju Laudari — today. Of them, Sharma is from the forestry sector while Laudari is assistant director at Alternative Energy Promotional Centre.

As an adviser to Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Shankar Prasad Bhandari, Laudari is considered a stronger candidate for the post although he is on a four-year leave from AEPC professedly to complete his PhD.

Sharma and Shekhar Kumar Yadav from the forestry sector had submitted their proposals for appointment to the post of the post 10 days ago. But the ministry disqualified Yadav and selected a non-general forestry candidate Laudari for interview.

Former director general of the Department of Forests, Gaurishankar Timila, accused forest minister Bhandari of trying to dismantle group-based system in the forestry sector.

“The forest minister is rampantly appointing candidates close to him and breaching the system of forestry sector,” he said.

Two weeks ago, expressing dissatisfaction with arbitrary appointments in various posts of the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, foresters had demanded group-based appointments in subordinate bodies under the ministry.

Members of Nepal Foresters’ Association, Nepal Forest Technician Association of Nepal, and Junior Foresters’ Association have submitted a letter to ministry demanding group-based appointments. Foresters expressed their concern as the ministry is preparing to appoint a candidate from non-forestry sector as the general manager of Timber Corporation Nepal. Earlier, amid strong opposition, Minister Bhandari had made appointments in various vacant posts in the forestry sector. Violating existing law, Bhandari appointed Krishna Prasad Acharya, a wildlife group-based joint secretary, as the director general of the Department of Forests.

Not only that, Man Bahadur Khadka from the general forestry group was appointed director general of Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation. Similarly, Bijaya Raj Poudyal from the general forestry group was appointed director general of Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management.

There are six groups in forestry — general forestry, soil and water conservation, botany, national park and wildlife conservation, forest research and Hattisar.  Foresters have been crying foul ever since the minister began appointing officials from the NC quota randomly.