Dec 23, 2013
In a first of its kind gesture, minister of state for zoological gardens S P Yadav handed over a draft of Rs 10 lakh to kin of the forest guard who was killed in Pilibhit forest division by members of the jungle mafia. The association of forest guards has been demanding compensation from the department for the immediate families of forest guards who got killed on-duty of left injured in encounter with forest mafia.The minister said the government will not only consider the demands of the forest guards but also act swiftly to fulfill them. “I will take it up with the chief minister and issue a GO soon on this,” said the minister. He also assured that the amount of compensation will not be less than Rs 10 lakh. The minister said the government will also consider giving compensation to the injured staff. In the last 35 years, about 173 foresters have died in skirmishes with forest mafia and 86 of the dead were forest guards. In 1981, seven forest guards were killed and government then had announced extraordinary pension to families of forest guards killed. In 1986, 20 foresters were killed, including 10 forest guards. The minister said government is aware that forest guards are at risk given the limited resources they have at the disposal to take on forest mafia which, in most instances, is equipped with modern weapons and better equipment. The association demanded that forest beats (administrative units) and ranges be reconstituted into smaller and easily manageable areas. A forest guard is posted at a beat which is the smallest administrative area. From ensuring the security in the area, a forest guard is responsible for implementation of various forest and wildlife related schemes of Central and state governments in the beats assigned to them. PCCF, UP, JS Asthana said that average age of foresters is between 50 to 55 years. Moreover, about 25% posts are vacant in UP. In UP, however, the staff has neither been given vehicles for patrolling the area nor fire arms to take on the forest mafia. The association demanded mobile phones to enhance connectivity for the staff. The association also demanded ‘Naxalite allowance’ for guards posted in Naxalite-affected areas.
As Posted In Toi