Thursday, June 17, 2010

New uniform for forest officials in Gir

New uniform for forest officials in Gir
Times of India

The forest officials manning the only abode of Asiatic lion, Gir sanctuary, will soon don smart uniforms. Faculty of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Gandhinagar, has been put on the job by the forest department to design uniforms that match their harsh job profile.

However, the institute has been asked to retain the khaki colour. "The big cats are used to seeing the men in khaki and do not harm our men. There have been some attacks on villagers, but attacks on forest officials are extremely rare," said a senior forest department official.

Forest officials said that there were about 500 range forest officers and beat guards, who would wear the new dresses. These constitute the field staff. "We have realised that a person going in the field was carrying a stick and his wireless set and now a GPS system. But apart from the pockets in his pants there was nothing to carry and hence we have asked them to have some special provisions for the these devises. We have also asked NIFT to design some comfortable shoes too," the official said.

Vishal Gupta, assistant professor at NIFT, said that they had sent a team to the Gir sanctuary to understand more about the nature of the job of the range forest officials, forest officials and beat guards for whom the uniforms were to be designed.

Accordingly, NIFT team had zeroed in on fabric which is light keeping in the mind that it remains hot for majority of the year in that part of the state. Most importantly, the institute would be using anti-bacterial and stain-resistant fabric, which had been developed to enable the officials cope with long working hours outdoors. "These uniforms can do without daily washing and would not get dirty easily," said Gupta.

He added that while the current uniform was from the British Raj days, the new uniform would be more structured and include lot of customised pockets to fit in the accessories carried by the forest officials on duty. "These include mobile phones, binoculars, GPS devices, wireless sets and other instruments," said Gupta.

NIFT authorities said the prototypes of uniforms would be ready in a fortnight and the project was likely to be commissioned in three months time once the trial runs were over.

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