Monday, January 19, 2009

Villagers walk into Babra Virdi unchecked

Villagers walk into Babra Virdi unchecked
Times of India

JUNAGADH: Babra Virdi spread over 812 hectares of land just 15 km off Gir is a reserve forest area, but forest trails are used by villagers often, resulting in man-animal conflict.

Two trails, one from Babra to Chuladi and another from Babra to Panakwa here, have been sanctioned for use by the forest department to just three villages Babra, Chuladi and Panakwa. But, in absence of strict law enforcement, people from other places too use these kachha' roads.

Technically, to pass through the area, one has to obtain permission from forest department in Junagadh, but in absence of check posts or gates demarcating the roads, no one is checked. Moreover, traffic flux not being very heavy, the forest department hardly pays attention to these areas.

District forest officer Amit Kumar says, "One needs permission to pass through this road, but it is practically impossible to prevent each and every outsider from using the road and distinguish them from residents of the three permitted villages."

"Till now, we have been adopting a humane approach and not been very strict as long as it doesn't disturb the lion population of the area," says Kumar. "This area is favourite spot for lions during mating season and probably the youth from Mangrol, who was mauled to death by a lion on Friday afternoon, tried to be adventurous in clicking pictures," he adds

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