Chhattisgarh: 3 forest officials removed, 2 suspended over elephant’s death
Twelve days after a wild elephant was found dead in Chhattisgarh’s Surajpur district, three forest officials including a district forest officer (DFO) were removed and two others were suspended for negligence in duty, officials said on Thursday.
Chhattisgarh principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Rakesh Chaturvedi said these officials acted “irresponsibly” and failed to take “immediate and effective” steps in the case of the elephant’s death, suspected to have occurred on June 3, but discovered by forest officials only eight days later on June 11. The officials claimed that the elephant was struck by lightning near Darhora village under Pratappur forest range. Particulars of the alleged negligent and irresponsible conduct by the errant employees were not available at the moment.
The DFO of Surajpur Forest Division, Duleshwar Sahu was attached to a forest office in Raipur while sub-divisional forest officer (Pratapur) BK Lakra and forest ranger (Pratapur) Premchand Mishra were posted to the office of chief conservator of forest (CCF) of Ambikapur. Forest range assistant Vijay Kumar Kujur and beat guard Maan Singh were suspended, a forest department spokesman said.
In another incident, a wild elephant was found dead in Dharamjaigarh forest division of Raigarh district on Tuesday and the exact reason of the death was yet to be ascertained.
North Chhattisgarh was home to around 240 wild elephants, which roam in the forest lands in Surguja and nearby regions of the state, often triggering human-elephant conflicts.
In the last decade, the state recorded an increase in its wildlife population including elephants, whose numbers rose from 225 to 290, as per the state forest department.
Between June and October last year, 15 elephant deaths were reported in the state in separate incidents.