Bhopal: Having seen himself transferred as many as 32 times in his service spanning close to 30 years, Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Aazad Singh Dabas, who completed his service on January 31, has vowed to fight the system for safeguarding the ‘fast diminishing’ forest cover in the state.
Dabas, who dared to take on his superiors and political fraternity, faced 32 transfers and two suspensions after assuming office as Assistant Conservator of Forest at Khargone.
Dabas, a native of Delhi dehat, was instrumental in several path-breaking forest department initiatives, including commencement of herbal processing units which now are known as Sanjeevni, establishment of task force at district and division level for conservation of forests, taking on mining mafia in Gwalior, ensuring record tendu leaves collection in Raigarh (now in Chhattisgarh), started first ever Van Mela in 2001, started Lado Abhiyan in Barwani which sponsored boarding and education of 93 tribal girls and so on.
The officer, however, in due course of his postings inadvertently crossed swords with the local administration, his own colleagues and political fraternity, which saw him getting transferred every now and then and at times his postings lasted for three weeks only.
He minces no words when asked about efficacy of his own department on conservation of forests and wildlife, “There is no dearth of powers vested in the department but will and determination is always seen lacking.”
On the recent crackdown on mining mafia as ordered by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Dabas, a 1985 batch IFS officer, said that government equipped with the necessary will could do anything. He alleged that illegal mining primarily flourishes in collusion with the political class.
The officer lauded the state government initiative of Namami Narmade Yatra saying that it enhances public awareness on rivers.
“We don’t have glacier fuelled rivers and river Narmada could dry out completely in the next 50 years if illegal felling of trees goes on unchecked.”
After completing services on January 31, Dabas is now planning to take his fight against the system to the next level.
“I am planning to convert my System Parivartan Adhikari Karmachari Sangthan into System Parivartan Andolan to ensure corrective measures in the system so that forests are safeguarded and wildlife conserved,” said the retired officer.
“Contrary to common allegation levelled against me, I was never against the government, I opposed the inefficient and corrupt system which I will continue to do all through my life,” said Dabas.
He also plans to narrate his tumultuous journey as an IFS officer in his autobiography shortly.