BENGALURU: Karnataka will soon have its exclusive wildlife crime control bureau. This is the need of the hour because of the increasing cases of wildlife poaching and a serious threat to the Western Ghats. The central WCB, which has its headquarter in Delhi, is under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Last month, it directed the forest department and CID Forest Cell to together set up an intelligence wing and bureau for the state. The headquarters of which will be in Bengaluru.
There are only five regional offices in India — Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Jabalpur and Navi Mumbai. There are also sub-regional offices in Amritsar, Guwahati and Kochi. Staffers from these offices are handling cases from throughout the country, which is insufficient. The two departments are now preparing their list of team members, command and control room staffers. The proposal will then be sent to the government and the ministry for approval, a forest official said.
Customs officials will also be involved to handle international cases. Police officials said such a team is required as the police does not have permission to enter reserve forest patches. Once the team is formed, police personnel will be able to enter forests with forest officials to nab poachers.
The department heads said the formation of this team will iron out all differences between the forest officials and the police. “CID Forest Cell was formed in 1973, initially to handle sandalwood cases. Later, when the cases stopped, it was asked to handle other wildlife cases. Then friction started. But now it has started to improve. The team will be exclusively for Karnataka and will handle only wildlife cases. It will also strengthen court cases where the forest department lacks,” the police official said.