As all the senior forest officials have gone on a "study tour" to South Africa and Kenya, along with the Maharashtra Forest minister, Babanrao Pachpute, his wife, the forest secretary and the state wildlife warden B Majumder, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has given a fresh deadline of June 8 for providing a detailed time-bound programme from the department to prevent the frequent fires in Nagzira wildlife and Melghat tiger reserves.
The Court had taken a suo-moto cognizance on the media regarding on increasing incidents of fires in both the wildlife sanctuaries in Vidarbha region and asked the state forest department to provide steps to prevent it.
Major fires had engulfed the famous Melghat Tiger reserves in Amravati district and Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Gondia district early this month. The fires had destroyed bamboo and fodder, worth crores of rupees and affected small fauna and avian life in both the jungles.
While hearing a forest case last week, the Court had given only three days' time to the department for furnishing time-bound programme to prevent such major fires in the wildlife sanctuaries. But senior officials including the PCCF (wildlife) and the forest secretary have left for foreign countries on Wednesday for a "study tour," it had to grant 45 days period, instead.
According to available information, the minister, Pachpute and his team would tour South Africa and Kenya to study various zoological parks there till May 5 next. Surprisingly, the team did not include Jarnail Singh, the chief of proposed Godewada Zoological Park of Nagpur. Instead, the wife of the minister and two joint secretaries were included in the jaunt.