Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gir guards get bikes to chase poachers


Gir guards get bikes to chase poachers

Times of India By: Himanshu Kaushik & Nayan Dave Print Edition


After losing eight Asiatic lions to poachers in March, the forest department has decided to upgrade security in Gir sanctuary area by equipping beat guards with motorcycles, appointing 300 van mitras (voluntary workers) and barricading 8,000 open wells.


The department will buy 100 motorcycles for effective patrolling. This will enable them to keep poachers at bay, while covering open wells or constructing parapets will make the Asiatic lion less vulnerable to accidents. Also, with a large number of lions venturing out of the protected forest area, the department has decided to increase vigilance outside the sanctuary. This vigil will be maintained by van mitras who will be appointed from each village in and around the sanctuary. The van mitras will also look out for poachers. The severe shortage of manpower will also be taken care of. The forest department has decided to appoint an additional 100 beat guards to add to the existing force. These beat guards would be equipped with their individual wireless sets.


Additional chief conservator of forest Pradeep Khanna said that motorcycles will help beat guards cover larger areas, which they were unable to do on foot. Communication through wireless sets would also ensure quick action in case of emergency. For officials too an additional 10 jeeps would be made available for effective monitoring. Khanna said apart from strengthening present security systems, the department has decided to give Rs 4,000 per well to farmers for constructing parapets around open wells.

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