Tiger Protection Force yet to take shape
By Express News Service | Published: 29th November 2012 11:27 AM |
Even though the State Government had announced setting up of the Similipal Tiger Protection Force (STPF) comprising 112 personnel for the protection of dwindling population of big cats in Similipal Tiger Reserve six months back, appointment to the force is yet to start.
The STPF will be headed by Assistant Conservator of Forests. Three range officers, 18 foresters and 90 forest guards will assist him. The STPF has been formed basing on the guidelines prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
In a written reply to a question from Amar Prasad Satpathy (BJD) in the Assembly on Tuesday, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said steps are being taken to recruit the staff for the force.
Official sources said 30 per cent of 90 forest guards will be engaged by outsourcing through authorised service provider agency which will consist of local forest dwelling people such as ‘van gujjors’ or ‘gonds.’ The salary and other emoluments of the outsource staff will be same as regular forest guards of STPF.
Headquarters of the STPF will be at Gudgudia in Mayurbhanj district. Besides, three barracks of the force will be constructed at Jenabil, Nawana and Gudgudia.
Several other steps have also been initiated for wildlife protection in Similipal forest. The minister said 111 anti-poaching camps have been set up and 665 temporary employees engaged to assist the camps.
Similipal reserve forest has been divided into 17 ranges and 91 anti-poaching camps have been directly linked to the headquarters of the Project Tiger through wireless.
The minister, however, said 2.6 hectare reserve forest land has been encroached. The department has lodged four cases against the encroachers. Besides, 548.96 acres village forest of revenue villages inside the reserve forest area has also been encroached. Pattas have been paid to the encroachers as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA), he said.