Sunday, September 23, 2007

Merchiston Estate Land Deal- Chief Conservator Vallil Gopinath Being Made Scapegoat

Chief Conservator of forests(Vigilance) Mr. Vallil Gopinath has the reputation of being a live wire officer, a go-getter. He does not stand any nonsense. In a department where officers, who choose to crawl when asked to bend are dime a dozen, he is an exception. He has always been outspoken. This has earned him the wrath of a small section officers within the department and some wily politicians.

Now the men who have always been trying to implicate him have found a convenient excuse to nail him. Under the guise of fixing responsibility for the Merchiston Estate Land deal, he has been made a scapegoat and suspended from service. You will be at a loss to understand the rationale behind his suspension if you peruse the records. If there is any thing wrong in the land deal the Custodian who is also Chief Conservator of Forests (Administration) should have taken necessary action and appraised the Government about the fact. The fact that the department of space is purchasing land from Merchiston Tea Estate has also been reported to Govt. vide their letter No.VSSC-DIR-2007 dated 22.05.2007 addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala. The Divisional Forest Officer, Thiruvananthapuram and the Conservator of Forests (Southern Circle) had not reported any illegality in the transfer of above land to Mr Gopinath. The Government Order, which stipulates the duties and functions of the vigilance wing, do not contemplate an enquiry by the Vigilance Wing in land deals. He cannot act unless there is a specific complaint or petition. It was the responsibility of the concerned Forest Range Officer, DFO and Chief Conservator of Forests to act as stipulated in the forest code. The coordination responsibility of protection matters is with the Chief Conservator of Forests (Protection). So it is crystal clear that Chief Conservator (Vigilance) cannot be faulted. Then why is he being framed? Your guess is as good as mine.