The state government on reconstituted the Gujarat State Board for Wildlife, renominating Dhanraj Nathawani, senior vice-president of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) – and two retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers on the 10-member group of eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists. The GSBWL has been reconstituted after the three-year tenure of 10 expert members ended more than a year ago.
A resolution of the state forest and environment department said that the principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife), who is also the ex-officio member secretary of GSBWL, had forwarded a proposal in this respect to the government on May 29, 2022.
The chief minister of Gujarat is the ex-officio chairman of GSBWL, a statutory body that advises the government in matters concerning wildlife. Minister of Forest and Environment is the ex-officio vice-chairman of the board while MoS for forest and environment is the ex-officio co-vice chairman. The board also comprises three members from the state Assembly and representatives of three NGOs.
However, 10 independent eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists form the biggest cohort in the GSWBL.
the government renominated Nathwani as an expert member. Natwani is the son of RIL director (corporate affairs) and Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani. He is also president of Gujarat Cricket Association and a member of the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar – an autonomous body functioning under the aegis of Gujarat forest department. He was nominated to the GSBWL for the first time in 2017.
The government also renominated two Gujarat cadre IFS officers – R D Kamboj and C N Pandey – who had retired as additional principal chief conservator of forests and principal chief conservator of forests and head of forest force, respectively. Other experts include Suresh Bhatt, trustee of Lakhota Nature Club, Jamnagar; Sanjay Kelaiya of Natural Heritage Conservation Society, Junagadh; Chandravijyasinh Rana, former honourary wildlife warden of Jamnagar; Rohit Vyas, a naturalist from Vadodara and Devvratsinh Mori, a leading birdwatcher who also teaches at the Ahmedabad University.