A fire-watcher of Madhya Pradesh Forest department has likely been eaten by a crocodile in Panna National Park after he went to take a bath in the Ken river.
The Panna National Park, situated in the Vindhyan ranges, is spread over Panna and Chattarpur districts in North Madhya Pradesh.
The 427 km long Ken river, a tributary of the Yamuna, originates in Jabalpur district, passes through Panna National Park and finally merges with the Yamuna near Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Field director Panna National Park RS Murthy told HT on phone that Durjan Singh, who was employed as fire-watcher (casual worker) in the Park, went missing from May 18, after he went to take a bath at Ken river.
"His clothes and soap, identified by his colleagues later, were lying on the bank. We called the divers and a sniffer dog. The dog also went to the place where he had taken bath in the river, indicating that he went missing from that spot", he said.
Murthy said as Ken has around ten crocodiles in that area of the river, it is likely that he was eaten by the crocodile.
"His missing report has been filed by the police", he said.
Asked whether his family members will get any relief or compensation, Murthy said it was a difficult case as it needs to be ascertained first that he was eaten by crocodiles or has gone missing.
"It is a first case of its kind here and we will have to see how we can make sure whether he was eaten by crocodiles or he has actually gone missing", he said.
Crocodile have been known to attack people in Madhya Pradesh. Last year in September, a 46 year old man was attacked by a crocodile in Bhopal's Kaliasote dam where he had gone for fishing. The crocodile bit his left leg.