STR in danger: Forest staff on indefinite hunger strike

Published: 23rd February 2013 11:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd February 2013 11:44 AM   |  A+A-

Worried over the protection of Similipal biosphere and Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary, over 500 forest staffers, including foresters and forest guards, are on an indefinite strike from Friday over their demands.

Their strike came a day after over 150 hunters made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the core area of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) for hunting wild animals. The entry bid was foiled as the forest staff nabbed one poacher with a loaded country-made gun and chased away the hunters.

The national park is in the news for the last couple of years for a series of  elephant deaths and decreasing number of Royal Bengal Tigers (RBTs). The forest authorities feared security concerns in the absence of forest staff as during the period tribals enter the forest areas for mass hunting of animals.     

 STR Deputy Director Bikash Ranjan Dash said the daily wage protection assistants had been engaged to guard the forest areas while the range officers would patrol along the forest routes to keep the hunters at bay.

 “Yes, of course, the absence of forest guards and foresters would hamper the protection activities and the hunters may take advantage of it. Still, we have made alternative arrangements to safeguard the forest areas,” he said.

In Balasore district, Vana Suraksha Samiti (VSS) members and plantation workers along with the daily-wage protection assistants have been deployed to guard Kuldiha sanctuary and  other forest areas.

 DFO Kedar Swain, who is personally supervising forest patrolling and other allied activities said though it would be difficult to protect the vast area with a handful of temporary guards, it was not impossible. “We have also sought the help of local police for exigencies. Our main focus is to control forest fires,” he said.

 Meanwhile, the forest staffers under the banner of Odisha Non-Gazetted Forest Service Association (ONGFSA) are sitting on an  indefinite strike demanding enhancement of pay scale of forest guards as per the  Sixth Pay Commission, regularisation of contractual foresters and forest guards and post upgradation of forest guards, foresters and deputy rangers.

 “The strike will continue till our demands are conceded,” said Mayurbhanj circle president Khageswar Sethy.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp