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Officials rush to clear Yoga Day venue of snakes ahead of PM Modi’s Dehradun visit

Dehradun’s district magistrate asked the forest department last week to keep the ground safe and “clear” the area of snakes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on International Yoga Day, June 21.

dehradun Updated: Jun 19, 2018 11:54 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
PM Modi,Narendra Modi,International Yoga Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun on International Yoga Day.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT File Photo)

Uttarakhand’s forest department has started an intensive drive to look for snakes and monkeys in the sprawling Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on International Yoga Day on June 21.

Dehradun’s district magistrate SA Murugeshan asked the forest department last week to keep the ground safe and “clear” the area of snakes.

“I had ordered to keep the venue free from snakes, monkeys and dropping trees and branches. For which, the forest department was asked to take necessary steps,” Murugeshan said.

Dehradun’s divisional forest officer (DFO) Rajeev Dhiman said the department’s staff is scanning the area for the wild animals.

“We don’t want any inconvenience for the participants as the campus has a dense forest. We have so far caught and released two snakes,” Dhiman said.

He said no monkeys were spotted near the ground where the event would take place in the presence of the Prime Minister. Two teams with three forest staff have been deployed at the venue to guard the area until the event is over.

The premier institute has a dense forest cover and its campus is spread across nearly 450 hectare with a plinth area of 2.5hectare. It is well connected with that of the Mussoorie forest division and the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Tons River form its boundary. It comes under the Dehradun forest division.

And that is the reason leopards are also spotted on the campus besides snakes. In March 2015, a leopard killed a 16-year-old on the FRI campus and a few other incidents of attacks were also reported.

Over 50,000 enthusiasts have already registered for the event as Uttarakhand’s chief secretary Utpal Kumar is reviewing the preparations every day for the event to be held at FRI on Thursday.

The United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga in 2014 after Modi called for the day to be adopted as a global celebration of yoga, an ancient practice that began in India more than 5,000 years ago.

First Published: Jun 19, 2018 11:53 IST