While Naxals talk of wildlife protection, state dithers
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN Jan 24, 2013, 01.03AM IST
NAGPUR: At a meeting with villages in Govindgaon in Aheritehsil of Gadchiroli, Naxals asked the people to save wildlife and forests. However, the state government is dithering about notifying Kolamarka wild buffalo sanctuary in Gadchiroli'sSironcha division citing Naxal threats.
Kolamarka is a reserve forest in Kamlapur range under Sironcha forest division in Gadchiroli, where around 18 genetically pure wild buffaloes have been reported. The chief wildlife warden sent a proposal to declare 180.782 sq km Kolamarka a conservation reserve and not a sanctuary. The proposal will come up for approval at the state wildlife board meeting at Pune on Thursday.
The action taken report (ATR) prepared by the wildlife wing after a national-level workshop in November last in the city on wild buffaloes stated that as Kolamarka was impacted by left-wing extremism, and as locals will be deprived of monetary benefits from tendu leaves' collection, it will not be proper to notify the area as sanctuary. However, Kishor Rithe, member of state wildlife board, said: "when Naxals themselves are in favour of saving wildlife and forests, why officials are dithering about notifying Kolamarka?"
Mahendra Singh Chouhan, honorary district wildlife warden for Gadchiroli, felt forest officials should not find excuses by citing problems in managing Kolamarka. "The forest staff has failed to protect tigers even where there are no Naxals," he said. They both mentioned the latest case of tiger electrocution in Deolapar range in Nagpur division where forest staff did not even know a tiger lay dead for more than 15 days. "There are no Naxals in Deolapar, why poaching of tiger was not detected early," they asked.
Rithe said he would take up the issue at the board meeting to be held under the chairmanship of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. Apart from several wildlife policy issues, the board will discuss several developmental projects proposed within 10km periphery of national parks and sanctuaries in Maharashtra.
Rithe said he would also take up policy of wildlife department about elimination of carnivores in forest areas and special schemes to address man-animal conflict in wildlife corridors. On January 12, a tigress was shot dead in Sonzari adjoining Navegaon national park as it had turned man-eater.