IISER professor quits over anti-environment activities

first_imgA Pune-based biologist with the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) has quit his post in protest against alleged tree-felling activities taking place on the 100-acre campus.Dr. Milind Watve, a teacher and author, who headed a committee looking into the IISER’s green cover, has alleged that several hundred trees were illegally cut over the past year within the campus.Mr. Watve, who tendered his resignation last week, said that the green cover was being tampered due to a slew of unwarranted construction and concretisation activities. His resignation is yet to be processed by institute authorities.“While studying the landscape of IISER, I found that trees were felled without proper permission or procedure, and untreated sewage was being released, despite there being a sewage treatment plant. Many a time, the reason given was construction of an extra road or pathway when none was required,” he said.Mr. Watve said that when he tried to draw the attention of the institute authorities towards this, they refused to acknowledge any illicit activity.“I had written a number of letters to top IISER authorities since November 2017. It seemed ironic that my lab carries out biodiversity, ecology and conservation research, but I couldn’t save the trees in my vicinity. Hence, I decided to quit as a matter of principle,” he said.Repudiating the allegations as ‘baseless’, IISER authorities issued a statement which said that it was committed to promoting the green cover on the campus and that it was unaware of any illegal tree-felling activity within the premises.“The landscape committee was constituted in November 2017 with Mr. Watve as the chairperson with the goal of increasing the vegetation on the IISER Pune campus, and maintaining and protecting the existing green cover. The allegations made by him were raised, not while he was the chairperson, but after he expressed the intent to resign,” the statement read.last_img

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