The forest watchers have accused the state government of discriminatory attitude towards them saying they have been waiting for more than two decades for promotion.

A group of the “first batch” of forest watchers told news agency that no departmental promotion has been made since they were appointed in 1997.

“We were appointed as watchers in state forest department to control the wanton loot of green gold and illicit timber smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir, but are waiting for the last 22 years to get promoted,” the distressed employees said.

They said the fresh recruitment of forest guards and inspectors was made in 2000, among which several were promoted as inspectors and assistant directors.

“Many among us have received awards in recent past for best performance in controlling the wanton loot of green gold, still the administration is showing the step-motherly attitude towards us,” a group of employees said adding that their counterparts in Jammu were promoted recently.

“Two watchers have died and several others have been injured while discharging duties since 1997,” they said.

“Recently, 42 watchers of Jammu division were promoted as forest guards but the watchers of Kashmir Division are awaiting promotion. This is sheer discrimination,” they said. “We have several times knocked the doors of authorities in this regard but to no avail.”

The distressed forest watchers have urged Governor SP Malik and the concerned advisor to look into the issue on humanitarian grounds and address their “genuine” demands at the earliest. (GNS)


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