Creation of STPF mooted following reports of vanishing tigers from the reserve

After failing to recruit personnel for the Similipal Tiger Protection Force (STPF), the Forest and Environment department has now mooted pooling young ground-level forest personnel from different divisions in Mayurbhanj district for the force.

A year ago, the State government had issued notification regarding creation of the STPF comprising 112 personnel to protect tigers in Similipal Tiger Reserve.

However, the department could not be able to conduct recruitment for the force. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had sanctioned a fund for raising the force. As per the plan, thee STPF will he headed by Assistant Conservator of Forest. Three range officers and 90 forest guards would assist him. The shape of the STPF was finalised as per the guidelines prepared by the NTCA.

The Forest and Environment Secretary had asked the Field Director to depute foresters and forest guards below the age of 30 from Mayurbhanj district for the force. Accordingly, a search was conducted division-wise. It was found that 63 guards and 18 foresters were below the age of 30.

With the plan likely to face legal hurdles, a committee headed by Field Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve, sources said, advised to engage the young forest personnel on deputation basis and complete the recruitment within one year. Personnel engaged for the STPF may not have the police power including power of seizure as they have not been recruited as per police manual. As per the plan, three barracks of STPF will be constructed at Jenabil, Nawana and Gudgudia. The headquarter office of the STPF has been proposed to be located at Gudgudia in Mayurbhanj district. Family quarters will be provided at Joshipur for all the staff willing to keep their family.

The field division of the STPF, Baripada would be required to provide monthly reports on the deployment initiatives done by the STPF to the NTCA.

Creation of STPF was mooted following reports of vanishing tigers from the tiger reserve. The State government is maintaining that there were around 100 tigers in the Similipal. However, when camera trap method was used for tiger census, the population of big cats varied between 20 and 30.

Creation of STPF mooted following reports of vanishing tigers from the reserve