Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hi-tech security for Gir lions


Hi-tech security for Gir lions

Times of India, Pg-5 By Himanshu Kaushik

SASAN: The last abode of the Asiatic lion has finally blinked on the state government’s radar. To check poaching incidents, the state government plans to set up new check posts in the national park, some with close circuit televisions and night vision cameras to capture any suspicious movement in the jungle.

With nine busy roads passing through the sanctuary and the national park, it was necessary to have proper surveillance on these roads.

The government has proposed to set up 18 new checkposts of which five would be equipped with modern gadgets, like close circuit televisions (CCTVs) and night vision cameras.

These would come up in the Jasadhar, Tulsishyam, Dalkhaniya, Jamwada and Bamansa ranges. These ranges cover areas which reported poaching incidents in March and April this year.

Worried about the decreasing number of guards and the increase in the average age of the forest guards, the department has also completed the process of recruiting staff, say officials. Consequently, 81 guards in Gir west and 37 in Gir east would be joining the forest department within a fortnight.

He also said that also by paying a small amount of Rs 1000, the forest department would also have over 300 Van Sahayaks.

These sahayaks would not only keep an eye on the movement of animals but also on the activity of villagers and report directly to the range officers.

The forest department staff will also purchase .12 bore guns for forest guards at the checkposts or at sensitive points, to make up for the shortage of firearms in the field staff.

Additional chief principal conservator of forest Pradeep Khanna said that the check post with CCTVs and night vision cameras would be ready in two months but the strength of the staff would increase within a month as the recruitment process is almost completed.

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