Realising the vulnerability of crucial pockets within the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR), the Forest Department has come up with initiatives for 24-hour monitoring and reporting. To prevent poaching and sandalwood smuggling activities, a new wireless tower was set up at Mangaladevi last week.
“Till recently, certain pockets in the Thekkady, Vallakkadav and Periyar range were out of the communication boundary. We used to send messages from the Divisional office (Tiger II) to the tower at Kumarikulam (Tiger III). With the new tower at Managaladevi, complete wireless communication coverage of Thekkady is ensured,” said sources.
A lightning arrester has also been set up at Mangaladevi. Considering lack of funds for setting up a tower with the lightning arrester, the department has modified an old tower which remained unused at the divisional office compound. “We modified it, painted and carried out the necessary repair and maintenance. Now it is working properly. We could finish setting up the tower along with other equipment within ` 65,000,” they said.
With the new tower wireless communication within the range has become smoother. For 24-hour monitoring an official has been deployed there. “These pockets were vulnerable mainly due to threats of poaching and sandalwood smuggling. No such incidents were reported from the area recently. However, we could plug an illegal entry point to the forests,” the sources said.