The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and the Maharashtra Forest minister Patangrao Kadam were in Tadoba on Wednesday to take a first hand account of the brazen manner in which poachers were having a free run, threatening the tiger population in the famous tiger reserves.
Thackeray was in Chandrapur for three days and his tour would focus on the recent tiger deaths, forest fires and rehabilitation of villages out of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). During his jungle safari on Wednesday the MNS leader also spotted two tigers.
He had visited the tiger poaching site in Gondmohadi jungle where the forest department rescued a tiger from an iron jaw trap laid by poachers first week of this month. Another tiger caught in the jaw trap at the same spot was found dead. As many as seven tigers were killed in Chandrapur near Tadoba since January this year. According to MNS sources, Thackeray interacted with forest officials and the villagers of Jamni over the problem.
On the other hand, the Maharashtra forest minister Kadam who also reached at Chandrapur on Wednesday ordered an CID inquiry into two incidents of tiger poaching this month. He also declared to adopt uniform tiger protection strategy for the forest habitat for tigers in Chandrapur forest areas.
The minister also visited the tiger poaching site near Gondmohadi and held joint meeting of forest, police and the state electricity distribution officials.
“I have ordered CID inquiry to probe the tiger poaching in Gondmohadi and Borda areas of Tadoba this month and asked the agency to give its status report in next three months. Gondmohadi tiger poaching involves the inter-state poaching gangs. We have got some clues in Boarda tiger poaching case and investigators are working on it,” said Kadam.
He informed that forest ministry has provided secret funds to the department for an efficient intelligence gathering network and for more manpower with good leadership in the field. “In view of the recent incidents of poaching with the help of electrification, we have decided to convert entire overhead electricity transmission lines into underground one in Tadoba and it's neighbouring forest areas. Similarly all new supply lines passing through forest areas hence forth will also of underground one,” he insisted.
Forest minister also declared of adopting uniform tiger protection strategy for tiger habitat areas in Chandrapur. “Existing 34 forest beats in TATR will be restructured to form 85 beats to enhance the protection. We are providing 10 jeeps, 25 motorbikes and large number of bicycles to the staffers for patrolling in tiger bearing areas. Van Patils will be recruited in villages falling in jungle areas on the line of Police Patils,” he said.
Kadam also informed that additional fire arms are being provided to the forest staffers in core and buffer area of TATR. He informed that funds has been provided to forest department for procurement of more metal detectors and other necessary equipments to strengthen tiger protection. “We have also decided to form special Tiger Protection Force in the tiger reserve areas in the state. As many as 112 posts for the purpose have also been approved,” he further informed.