Pashu Sandesh, 22nd May 2019
In the election time when everyone is thinking of the Lok Sabha results, there was a formal announcement made by the Government of India that SP Gupta, IAS (retd) is no longer the Chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
On 21st May through a Gazette notification, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare nominated the Joint Secretary (Animal Welfare), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare as the Chairman of AWBI till further orders in place of SP Gupta who has resigned from the Board on 25 Jan 2019.
The short tenure of SP Gupta as the Chairman of the AWBI was marred with various controversies most notably the tiff with the Central Government Minister Maneka Gandhi. Gandhi had complained to the Central Government against SP Gupta over mismanagement of funds and other serious allegations. In a letter written to Environment Ministry dated 17th July 2018 Gandhi had said,“It would be unfair to let a corrupt, irresponsible and destructive person head a body of the Government which aims at welfare of the weakest members of society,” On his part SP Gupta a close member of RSS refuted the charges made by Maneka Gandhi as baseless and motivated. As per Gupta, “Maneka Gandhi has been interfering in our work. We even passed a unanimous resolution against her. But I would not say that she was the reason behind my decision (of quitting the Board). It was my personal choice”.
Following the resignation of SP Gupta, Dr Neelam Bala a renowned Vet Doctor and Scientist who was appointed as the Secretary of the AWBI by the Ministry of Forest and Environment on 3rd October 2018 is looking after the affairs of the AWBI. With the nomination of the Chairman, the AWBI could now function to its full potential. Only recently the administrative control of the AWBI was been shifted from the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.