BENGALURU: To ensure better vigilance and increase protective measures at Bhadra Tiger Reserve, the Forest Department has warned its officials and staff posted in the reserve against staying out of their designated areas. A circular warning that the special tiger reserve allowance and food allowance of such officers and staff will be withdrawn was issued recently. The move is seen as an effort to stem the nonavailability of forest officials during crises and emergency situations.
In the circular dated September 12, signed by the director, Bhadra tiger reserve, the Forest Conservator says that Bhadra being a tiger reserve, the officers and staff designated here are provided with project tiger allowance and food allowance. “But some of the officers and staff are found to be not residing in the area designated within the reserve. Therefore, if this continues, their project tiger allowance as well as food allowance will be withheld,” the order says. It also directs local Assistant Conservators of Forests (ACF) at Bhadra division and Chikkamagalur and Lakkavalli division and all the Range Forest Officers (RFOs) within the Bhadra tiger reserve to ensure compliance.
Every tiger reserve is provided with assistance from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) wherein a part of it is utilised for improving patrolling and vigilance and paying special allowance to the staff. The remainder is covered from the foundation amount and grant by the state government. The foundation amount includes money collected in form of tourism and entry fees to the forests. The special allowances given by NTCA to the staff at tiger reserves includes `1,000 per month for RFOs, `700 for Deputy RFOs and `500 for guards. The circular assumes significance in the wake of several complaints by wildlife enthusiasts and activists voicing concern over the non-availability of officers in cases of emergency in the reserves.