Our Chairperson - A Brief Resume

Shri Merkap a 1986 batch of IFS Officer Rajasthan Cadre,  has a very long and interesting professional journey, during which he served as a lecturer in Govt. College, Management Trainee in Maharatna PSU like SAIL for one year, probationary officer in SBI for around three years. In mid eighties when there was very limited scope to get a good job opportunity, Sri Merkap could get selected as probationary officer in five Nationalised banks, and SBI, SAIL, Calcutta port trust, Geologists, in total a dozen of officers job.

It is a journey that started in Rajasthan’s crucial and sensitive forest divisions like Dungarpur, Alwar, Ajmer, desert District of Jaisalmer & Udaipur of Southern Rajasthan, then took him to Jaipur, and further eastern part of Rajathan in Bharatpur as Chief Conservator of forests, Addl. PCCF etc. Shri Merkap was chairman of Rajasthan Bio. Diversity Board for a couple of years. Every where he has left his imprint.

His initial postings at eco-sensitive areas like Dungarpur, Alwar and Udaipur were particularly challenging. These troubled forest divisions were beset with problems of illicit tree felling, illegal mining encroachment, smugglings etc. He fought relentlessly with forest mafias and marauders, developed a strong empathy for the people living in the area and defined a fine balance between forest protection and sustainable development. In fighting with forest mafias, specially against illegal green marble mining at Dungarpur. He faced many problems but remained unmoved.

His tenure at Udaipur for four years was a laboratory of joint forest Management. During this tenure three JFM committees of Udaipur in successive years could bag the prestigious Amrita Devi Vishnoi state level awards for commendable work in community participation. During this period more than three hundred committees registered. Various income generation program introduced for Bhil Tribals.

He was promoted as Conservator of forests posted in Ajmer and Sikar circle, and continued with the work of JFM in all the Distt. under his Jurisdiction. An out of Box model, like Parayavaran Pathshalas to impart basic education to children’s of local dwellers of Indira Gandh Canal project by local forest guards at their free time, was very interesting. In addition to that integrated Eco-Development Program in various villages of Alwar & Ajmer was widely appreciated and published in reputed Journals like Indian Forester, Yojana & Kurukshetra as case studies.

He got promoted as Chief Conservator of forests in 2009, and posted at problematic Bharatpur area and worked  successfully. Later on he took charge of research & Training & Director Forests Training  Institutes of the state. During this period  (2011-2014) around 1500 forest guards were directly recruited from the market. The biggest challenge for him to give them professional training at a time; with the limited capacity for around 150 forest guards, this task could have been completed in ten years. He pooled up the resources, created 14 satellite centers around the state, the professional training module was prepared and all guards could be trained at a time. This innovative method  was highly appreciated at various levels. He was invited to Indira Gandhi Forest Academy to share his experience & this model was followed in other state also. Later on he was promoted as additional PCCF and posted to promote Eco-Tourism in the state.

His tenure as chairman Rajasthan Biodiversity Board, a regulatory body created under Biodiversity Act, was very important  to conserve Biodiversity in Rajasthan. He wrote a book an Biodiversity conservation for school and college students, published by Rajasthan Hindi Granth Academy and this book is now widely read by youngsters.

Merkap has written about two dozen of papers published in various magazines and National Journals like Indian Forester, Yojana Kurushetra etc. He took pivotal role at National Level for capacity building specially for State level forestry training Institutions and SFS colleges (CASFOS) under a JICA supported programme. This was dedicated to remodeling and evaluation of in-service Training for SFS officers.

Merkap is a post graduate in Geology, Gold Medalist and topper of his batch.  He is a National scholarship holder throughout from high school to M.Sc.. He also did his post graduate diploma in Human Resources Management (PGDHRM) and Diploma in Management(DIM), in addition to his professional M.Sc. degree (AIGNFA) from IGNFA, Dehradun.  

Public service remains always close to Merkap’s heart. His advice to young person  joining any public service today is simple, keep people as main focus, public service is a team effort and one has to carry his team along, on-boarding of people, stake holders inclusion are very important.  The second point is not to be fazed by challenges, when there is a problem, solution will come apparently. Diagnosis is more difficult than prognosis and prevention is always better than cure. For him analyse the problem, understand, simplify and a plausible solution would emerge.

Merkap was born in Bhubaneswar. His father late Shri P.N. Merkap was also an officer in Govt. of Odisha, left a big impression on him. both his parents were idols for him.

His families constitutes his wife Mina, a friend , Philosopher & guide for him. Both his daughters Prasunika & Preetiparna are alumni of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi. Elder one got her post graduate degree from Delhi University & M.B.A. Degree. Younger one got her M.B.A. Degree from Xavier Institute of Management. Both are working in reputed MNCs and posted in Mumbai.

Merkap is a 24×7 professional and rarely powers off. He got superannuated in July 2018 & immediately after that got an opportunity to serve as ADVISOR to TRIFED, under administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs. During this period he played a very important role in implementing an ambitious programme of Government of India, VAN DHAN YOJNA to be implemented in 307 districts of the Country, for tribal empowerment and development. In the formative years he played a pivotal role in formation of VANDHAN VIKAS KENDRA (VDVK) which is going to be a tribal hub for collection of MFP, value addition and market linkage, under one roof.

Since, 12th March, 2020 Shri Merkap is working as Chairperson, Odisha State Food Commission. The Commission has a mandate to monitor and evaluate the implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in the State. The major activities of the Commission is to review the field position of Food and Nutrition Security, innovation in securing food and nutrition, integrated grievance redressal mechanism and institutionalization of independent DGRO/NFSA cell.

The Commission is empowered to,

  1. Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the schemes pursuant to the NFSA, 2013;
  2. Either suo motu or on receipt of complaint inquire into violations of entitlement,
  3. Hear appeals against orders of the District Grievance Redressal Officer; and
  4. Give advice to the State Government, their agencies, autonomous bodies as well as non-governmental organisations involved in delivery of relevant services for the effective implementation of food and nutrition related schemes, to enable individuals to fully access their entitlements specified in this Act.

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