Poll panel exempts forest personnel from election duty

Kendrapara: The State Election Commission (SEC) in Odisha has exempted Forest officials working in wildlife parks and sanctuaries of two districts from election duty in the forthcoming panchayat polls in the state as it would hamper the ongoing wildlife and turtle protection drive.

SEC secretary Rabindranath Sahoo said the Forest official from wildlife parks and sanctuaries in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts will not be posted on election duty for the forthcoming poll in the state.

But those forest officials who work in the offices lying outside the forest areas will be engaged in poll work.”

Vehicles, boats and staff of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will also not be requisitioned for election duty, Sahoo said.

Bhitarkanika National Park authorities had requested the Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur district administrations not to engage any forest personnel on poll duty as it would hamper the ongoing wildlife and turtles protection drive.

Kendrapara Collector Muralidhar Mallick said the administration has received the letter from Rajnagar DFO. As desired by the forest department, the administration has exempted the forest staff engaged in forest and turtle protection work from poll-related duty.