Sunday, July 14, 2024

Dil se : Mohan Chandra Pargaien Respecting forest communities

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Having been influenced by the Chipko Movement of the 1970s, Mohan Chandra Pargaien, as Telangana’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Nodal Officer of the Telangana Forest Conservation Act, has earned a reputation for carrying all sections of people while standing out as an efficient official on the ground. In a conversation with The Pioneer’s Deepika Pasham, he observes: “There are different sections of people living in forest and our work is to reach out to them.

With my expertise, I help them out of the way if necessary and that is satisfying. When it comes to payment of monetary compensation, where I can intervene and reduce the time involved, then my work is complete if I make even one family smile”.

Childhood:

I was born in Tanda Village of Nainital District. I completed my primary education there — till 5th Class. Later, I continued my schooling and college education from DSB Nainital.

Dream  

Serving Mother Nature had been my dream from childhood. During my growing years, the influence of Chipko Movement strengthened my resolve to associate and work with Nature. In fact, I did not appear for other exams. For pursuing my dream of serving Mother Nature, there was no option other than IFS.

Three attempts
I made three attempts for cracking IFS. I would have qualified in my second attempt, but I was down with viral fever. In my third attempt, I cleared the examination.

A memory that brings smile
During my career of over 32 years, I have worked in various departments like Rural Development, Tribal Welfare, and Pollution Control Board, to name a few. There have been many instances when I succeeded in helping needy villagers under watershed programmes or under World Bank forestry project. This gave me immense satisfaction.

Family bond
I have a small family — two sons Lokesh and Sanket with a caring and loving wife Kanchan. I have strong bonds of love and affection with them. My elder son Lokesh is having computer hardware business. Sanket is a Legal Associate in Mumbai. My father was a school headmaster. My mother is a homemaker. My only elder sister resides in Bhimtal.

Quality time
Weekend and holidays are only options available for a government servant. In addition, we prefer to take a short break once in six months for holidaying.

Married life
It was a love marriage and we happily faced all social challenges associated with inter-caste marriages at that time. In fact, it was due to inspiration from my wife Kanchan and her motivation that helped me fulfill my dream of becoming an IFS officer. We are normal and happy married couple and take bouquets and brickbats of life with a smiling face.

Hobbies
My hobbies are listening to music and reading Hindi poetry. I love to roam deep into forests, especially among the Himalayas. I love to make people aware and concerned about environmental issues by effectively using print and social media. I occasionally write for national dailies and certain online platforms.

Awareness is my core area of work; especially children and youth are made aware of forests and wildlife so as to make future sustainable. We motivate people to work on water and wildlife conservation. This kind of communication helps in the long run.

Higher education:

I did my B Sc – 1982 from Kumaon University Nainital, Uttarakhand; M Sc Botany-1984 from Kumaon University Nainital, Uttarakhand; Diploma in Associate of IGNFA (IFS)-1992 from Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy Dehradun, Uttarakhand and LLB from Osmania University, Hyderabad.

Initial positions

It was in 1990 that I was allotted to Indian Forest Service  –first as a Sub-Divisional Forest Officer, Manuguru, Khammam (from July, 1993 to 1994) and then as Divisional Forest Officer, Kagaznagar (from July, 1994 to 1997).

Field work and experience

I have substantial field experience, including in implementation of World Bank-aided Andhra Pradesh Forest Project; rehabilitation and developing of degraded forests with active participation of local communities under the Joint Forest Management; and taking up natural regeneration and enrichment planting interventions with soil and moisture conservation programmes.

The project, with highly satisfactory rankings, helped to regenerate degraded forests, ensured better protection through Village Committees, provided equitable employment opportunities and facilitated participation of NGOs in integrated development of forest-dependent communities. As a nodal officer of the state government’s flagship programme PVP (Prajalu Vaddaku Palana — taking administration to the doorstep of people), I facilitated coordination among various line departments in the division and ensured effective implementation of various developmental activities.

As a Project Director of the Drought Prone Area Programme in erstwhile Cuddapah district, I implemented various programmes of rural development under participatory model, including watershed programmes of the Government of India duly ensuring election of watershed committees, especially in faction-ridden areas; encouraged and facilitated low cost water harvesting structures and also rejuvenation of traditional water harvesting structures with active participation of decentralised watershed committees.

As a Conservator of Forests, Hyderabad, apart from regular forest administration in Hyderabad, I have been involved in Rangareddy, Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts and in the notification of more than 36 pending forest blocks.

For the first time, the construction of boundary wall around precious reserve forest blocks at Mansurabad, Gaganpahad, Dulapally and Medipally of Hyderabad was started for protection from encroachers. During this period, I actively participated in Andhra Pradesh Environment Connect Programme (APEC), a network of nearly 2,000 environmental enthusiasts of Hyderabad and adjoining areas working in the field of water and energy conservation, tree planting, lakes cleaning, waste recycling etc. I also initiated the waste recycling programme WOW (Wealth out of Waste) in collaboration with ITC Limited.
As a convenor of Tree Protection Committee of Hyderabad & Rangareddy districts, I facilitated the first translocation of Ficus trees.

As Special Secretary Environment, Forest, Science and Technology Department, Government of Telangana, I was associated with the implementation of various programmes of the government related to conservation and development of forests.

I was also associated with launching of flagship programme of the government ‘Telangana Ku Haritha Haram’ (green garland for Telangana) aimed at increasing the green cover in the state of Telangana. I discharged duties of Member Secretary of SEIAA (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority) under the Environment Protection Act to facilitate Environmental Clearances (EC) for various projects and activities as per the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006.

I facilitated and monitored the preparation of the State Action Plan on Climate Change for Telangana State through the Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI. I also provided policy support to the Telangana State Biodiversity Board (TSBDB) for its establishment.

As Field Director of the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, I have implemented various initiatives and specific schemes of State and Central government relating to wildlife conservation, protection and development of Amrabad Tiger Reserve. I took up the soft release of smallest Indian deer, Mouse deer (Moschiola India) in Amrabad Tiger Reserve. I also introduced two new safari tracks in the Tiger Reserve for better ecotourism activities along with two new safari vehicles Shera and Chital.

Area of interest and specialisation:

I specialize in environmental conservation and protection, forest and wildlife management with emphasis on participatory management, watershed development, environmental CSR, urban forests and environmental management, forest and landscape restoration and nature-based solutions.

Rapid fire:
How would you describe yourself:
A simple human being
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Many including Pyasa and Ardha Satya.
Favorite movie: Drishyam, Taare Zameen Par.
Favorite holiday destination: Any European city
Are you religious or spiritual: Spiritual, believer  
Favorite hero: Raj Kapoor, Aamir Khan,
Your inspiration: My wife

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