Taking a stern stand against poachers, Maharashtra government has decided that action taken by forest authorities against those caught while hunting down tigers will not be considered a crime. Talking to reporters, forest minister Patangrao Kadam said if the forest officials fire upon the poachers injuring or killing them, the action will not be considered a crime.
The minister said his ministry has sanctioned 70 additional forest guards for Tadoba tiger reserve and 90 guards for Pench. He said the forest guards will be fully armed. “There have been instances when the guards have been booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against the poachers. The government did not want this to happen,” he said.
The minister said recently two tigers were caught in a steel trap and died. “A CID inquiry has been instituted to find out whether they died because of poaching or were electrocuted,” he added.
Besides this, a four-member committee of experts, who have served as chief conservator of forest, has been appointed to advise the government on steps to be taken for precautions against poaching of tigers. Kadam said he had asked the power department officials to check electricity lines in the tiger reserves and also told the irrigation department to ensure maximum water holes.
He said Range forest officers have been provided 100 jeeps and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) troops have been deployed in Sironcha to prevent trafficking of teak wood. He said a secret fund of Rs 50 Lakh has been sanctioned to give incentives to informers providing tips about smugglers and poachers to the forest officials.