Forest officials walk 25km in four hours to prove a point | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Forest officials walk 25km in four hours to prove a point

Top forest officials, including principal secretary (forests) Pravin Pardeshi and chief conservator of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) Sunil Limaye, and 42 others walked 25km through the Tansa wildlife forest in Thane on Sunday morning. They covered this distance in four hours.

mumbai Updated: Oct 17, 2011 02:10 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

Top forest officials, including principal secretary (forests) Pravin Pardeshi and chief conservator of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) Sunil Limaye, and 42 others walked 25km through the Tansa wildlife forest in Thane on Sunday morning. They covered this distance in four hours.

This was a part of their ‘encouragement drive’ to prove that the 25-km race that is mandatory for the selection process of forest guards was not ‘insensitive’.

In early September, a candidate Balaji Narshingrao Trimanwar from Yawatmal died after undertaking the 25-km run. Having covered 12.5km one way during his run, he was on his way back when he collapsed.

Following this incident, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took suo motu cognisance of the matter. The state forest department has been asked to submit a report on why this system is used and top officials have been asked to be present at a hearing to be held on October 20.

“Earlier, those who wanted to appear for the interviews and written tests were asked to only complete the 25-km stretch in 4 hours. Then the department realised that most tribals didn’t score well in the written test and hence didn’t make it,” said Limaye.

Hence, the rules were tweaked to accommodate locals and tribals who are well-acquainted with the forest. Also, in forests of Gadchiroli, Melghat, Chandrapur, the forest department need people who are physically stronger, and preferably locals who will stay in the area willingly.

In 2011, after the new test method was introduced, 45% candidates who qualified for the forest guard posts were tribals.

The team started walking at 6am at Tansa Adgaon through Varyacha pada, finally reaching the Tembha checkpost within four hours.