Frequent VIP Visits Hamper Staff in Operation Tiger - The New Indian Express

Frequent VIP Visits Hamper Staff in Operation Tiger

Published: 30th December 2013 08:23 AM

Last Updated: 30th December 2013 08:23 AM

The festival season has not been so festive for forest officials who are under pressure due to the tiger menace in Mysore. Frequent VIP visits to the region is distracting them from protecting people from wild animals.

The forest staff who are facing the wrath of the people, are unable to focus completely on the operation launched to catch a killer tiger and prevent forest fires.

Although protocol does not dictate that personnel in the reserve forest should attend to VIPs, police and Revenue Department officials have been shifting their responsibility to the forest staff.

To quote, the Forest Department is not required to provide protection even to the Governor when he visits the national park. But forest officers are being asked to look after VIPs even as they are on their toes due to the frequent tiger attacks and elephant menace.  The burden is on the officials at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, a destination en route to Ooty, where VIPs drop in frequently, towards the end of the year in particular.

VIPs and VVIPs wish to stay in the guest house at the tiger reserve, and it is a risky job to ensure that they are safe and have a good stay, an official told Express.

Officers also have to make arrangements like food, protection, etc.

“We have to provide separate vehicles and staff for the VIPs if they don’t prefer to take the safari buses. In such a situation, how can we focus on catching the tiger?” an official said.  Another official said: “We cannot talk openly about the problem as we will have to face action for breach of protocol.”

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