Coimbatore

Forest dept. steps up vigil to prevent illegal trekking in forest areas

Following the death of a woman trekker near Palamalai on January 19, the Forest Department has stepped up vigil to control illegal trekking in forest areas and walking or jogging on roads passing through forests.

The Forest Department has begun posting staff at the checkpost at Palamalai foothills to guide people visiting the Ranganathar temple atop the hill, which is around four km from the checkpost.

The checkpost will be manned from dawn to dusk.

The 44-year-old woman was killed in the attack of a male wild elephant when she along with her husband and six others trekked to the temple through forest illegally and then descended through a mud road to Manguzhi tribal settlement.

The Periyanaickenpalayam forest range office had imposed a fine of ₹ 1,500 each on seven persons after the incident.

“The Department has decided to take severe action on persons who trespass into forests in the future. Senior officials have instructed us to register case against such offenders,” said S. Suresh, Forest Range Officer, Periyanaickenpalayam.

The staff at the checkpost are sensitising visitors to the illegality and risks involved in trekking.

They also sent back a few persons who had come to the foothills with a plan to trek to the temple.

Night patrolling

According to Mr. Suresh, deployment of staff at the checkpost at night was not required as only a few people visit the temple after sunset. However, anti-poaching watchers conduct patrols in the area at night.

Sources in the Department added that instructions were given to all forest range officers to prevent illegal trekking and to conduct patrols in areas prone to trespassing by people.

Frontline staff of the Department have also been instructed to advise people about the risks involved in going for walks or jogging on roads passing through forest areas such as Mangarai - Anaikatti stretch.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:15:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/forest-dept-steps-up-vigil-to-prevent-illegal-trekking-in-forest-areas/article30777950.ece

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