Telangana State government has decided to constitute a special tiger protection force for protection of big cats in both its sanctuaries.
A meeting of the state level Forest Protection Committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary S.K.Joshi has taken a decision towards this end on Tuesday. Accordingly, special forces will be constituted with 112 members, under the leadership of officers of the cadre of Assistant Conservators of Forest in both Amrabad and Kawal tiger reserves. Each team will have three range officers, 81 guards, and 26 forest watchers. Expenditure for maintenance of the teams will be distributed between Central and State governments in the ratio of 60:40. The committee has also stamped its approval on the proposal to release ₹2.25 crore for measures to prevent forest fires. It was also decided to prepare an integrated plan for protection of forests with coordination among various departments.
Control of forest crimes such as felling of trees and poaching, stern action against those committing the crimes including invoking PD Act, were some more issues discussed at the meeting, a statement from the department informed. Mr. Joshi has advised the power officials to slap cases related to theft of power against the offenders if they use electricity for poaching, and asked them to be vigilant.
Help from the legal department will be sought for speeding up enquiry and ensuring punishment without delay in cases related to forest crimes. A proposal is under consideration for appointment of legal adviser for each district, the statement informed.
Police will chip in wherever task force raids and removal of encroachment from forest lands are needed. A proposal is being studied for police outposts in sensitive locations as per the Forest department’s request. Mr.Joshi has instructed the officials to constitute village level forest protection forces through Grama Sabhas, and to increase awareness among newly elected Sarpanches about it.
Those who attended the meeting include DGP Mahender Reddy, Special Chief Secretary, Environment & Forests Ajay Mishra, Principal Secretary, Finance Ramakrishna Rao, Principal Secretary, Tribal Welfare Mahesh Dutt Ekka, PCCF P.K.Jha, and other officials.