Pune forest dept ups vigilance to curb illegal activities - Hindustan Times
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Pune forest dept ups vigilance to curb illegal activities

Mar 02, 2024 10:39 PM IST

Mayur Bothe, assistant conservator of forest, said, the department officials conduct regular patrolling in forest areas

The forest department has instructed the guards to be more watchful within its limits in the light of visitors’ safety after a video surfaced online of two girls found in an intoxicated state at Vetal Hill.

Safety is always a major concern in forest areas at Taljai, Hanuman and Vetal hills in the city. (HT PHOTO)
Safety is always a major concern in forest areas at Taljai, Hanuman and Vetal hills in the city. (HT PHOTO)

NR Praveen, chief conservator of forests, has ordered to immediately contact the head office and take appropriate action if any such incident takes place in the forest area.

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Mayur Bothe, assistant conservator of forest, said, the department officials conduct regular patrolling in forest areas.

“The incidents are higher in urban areas, where people have access to forest areas easily. In rural areas, forests are relatively remote so not many such incidents are reported here,” said Bothe.

Safety is always a major concern in forest areas at Taljai, Hanuman and Vetal hills in the city. In the past too, residents have been found drinking alcohol in such areas which often led to criminal incidents like fights and murders.

Apart from city limits, tourists are also found drinking in the forest areas of Sinhgad, Tamhini and Lonavla.

“I have participated in several cleaning drives on hills. Many times we have found alcohol bottles in large numbers. Although I have never witnessed anyone partying on the hills or forest areas one can easily assume with the amount of those bottles that many people come here and consume alcohol”, said Mithilesh Salvi, a resident from the Sahkarnagar area

“In recent years, the number of people who visit hills has increased significantly. While most of them visit the place for exercise or to enjoy the natural scenery, several people cause nuances in the areas. Increased vigilance in the forest will not only help in preventing such nuances but also help in preventing activities like alcohol consumption. It will also help in preventing illegal tree cutting and other activities that harm the forest ecosystem,” said Aboli Rahane, a resident of Kothrud.

The forest officials highlighted that it is a challenge to keep a close watch on forest areas which is widespread.

“The forest is a huge area and there are multiple entry points and it is practically difficult to keep a watch on every entry point. People are well aware of these entry points and hence easily get inside the forest area,” said Praveen.

“We also have a manpower crunch, but with the recent recruitment of 67 forest guards, we are hopeful about overcoming the manpower crisis,” he added.

The department also undertook the demarcation and fencing project on forest lands in various areas.

“In some areas, we have already completed the work. In the upcoming days, the fencing will be installed in forest areas in Hadapsar and Kondhwa-NIBM area. However, considering the difficult terrains of hill areas, it is not possible to install fencing at all the places,” said Praveen.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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