Forest guards in Himachal Pradesh can stop trekking the vast stretches of forests. The government is providing them with motorcycles to better protect the flora and fauna.
Around a quarter of the state's area is covered by forests, which are home to one of the most varied vegetation and wildlife in northern India.
But in recent years, growing threats by well-equipped poachers and the forest mafia have necessitated the need to provide forest guards the means to meet the challenge.
"We have prepared a project report and submitted it to the government and are awaiting its approval," said R.A. Singh, the state forest chief.
"Once permission is given, the forest and wildlife department will provide the motorcycles in a phased manner," he said.
The first lot of motorcycles will be provided to guards at the Pong dam wildlife sanctuary located at the scenic Himalayan foothills in Kangra valley.
The sprawling Pong sanctuary is winter home to thousands of trans-continental birds and is prone to poaching.
At present, a forest guard in Himachal Pradesh has to cover at least 20 km of mountainous terrain on foot every day to keep watch on his assigned area. Often a guard is responsible for two areas due to inadequate staff.