Saturday, July 14, 2007

Govt gears up to counter poaching of Asiatic Lion


Govt gears up to counter poaching

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot: Still besieged by threat by poachers to Asiatic lions in their only abode Gir, the state government wants to ensure that no official engaged in the conservation task takes it easy. The monthly monitoring committee (MMC) formed by the state soon after eight lions were poached early this year, has decided to take stringent action against those officials who are found careless in performing the assigned task.

A meeting of MMC in Junagadh on Wednesday also decided to engage national level experts to train police and forest department personnel in Sasan to tackle the poaching menace. The meeting was chaired by Jungadh Range IG Mohan Jha.

Considering possibility of poachers coming from other states, it was decided to carry out searches in farms located in the vicinity of forest area and keep tabs on hotels and lodges in the area. Moreover, details of labourers coming from other states will be recorded in a register by village sarpanch and mukadams.

A plan to issue identity cards to persons who frequent the forest areas is also under consideration. The committee also stressed on filling of 212 vacant posts in the forest department for more intense patrolling even as government has sanctioned 100 posts in various categories.

Information pertaining to nearly 300 eco clubs (youth clubs) formed by state government was presented before the committee.

MMCs were formed for Junagadh, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts by the state government following poaching of six lions in Babaria range and two lions in Palitana range early this year. In the meeting, it was announced that out of the 100 two-wheelers sanctioned by the government, 86 vehicles will be shortly received by the forest officials. The government has also sanctioned the proposed 10 four-wheelers, 15 cell phones and 75 global positioning systems (GPS) systems.

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