NAGPUR: The forest department has warned disciplinary action against N M Goswami, working president of the Forest Guards Union, Nagpur, for seeking information about proposed transfers of guards and their seniority list under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

Goswami, who had sought the information on February 27, was told by information officer L V Swami that it was not possible to provide the details under Section 3 of the RTI Act 2005.

Interestingly, in a similar case, forest guard Mustaq Ahmed was told in a letter dated April 23, that information can be provided under the same section of the Act.

As if the disappointment of not receiving the information was not enough for Goswami, another shock awaited him. Goswami, who works with the working plan department, was issued a show-cause notice by deputy conservator of forests (DCF) Naresh Zurmure on March 30, warning him of disciplinary action.

Zurmure has stated that there is no provision to give information to president and secretary of the employees’ union. “As per rules, the DCF has all the rights to transfer guards. By seeking information about the transfers, you have flouted the law and tried to interfere in the process,” Zurmure wrote to Goswami in the notice, a copy of which is with TOI.

However, it’s interesting to note that, at one point of time, when there is talk of proposed transfers, the DCF’s letter states that there was complete transparency in the transfer process and 90 per cent of the guards have been offered their choice of postings. It is also interesting to note that Goswami has also been issued a show-cause notice by Zurmure on April 21, for being part of a delegation which went to meet forest minister Babanrao Pachpute during his visit to the city on April 19.

When contacted, Zurmure told TOI that Goswami sought information as an office-bearer of the union and there was no resolution of the union’s meeting. “The main intention of Goswami was to stall transfers and hence we did not provide any information in the matter,” he added.
Forest guards union leader gets notice-Nagpur-Cities-The Times of India