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|Forest field staff threaten to boycott tiger census
Bhubaneswar, May 6, 2010
10,000 forest field staff in Orissa have threatened to boycott the
tiger census starting Saturday to press their demand for more security
in view of threats from Maoists and forest mafia.
general secretary of Orissa Non-gazetted Forest Service Association,
said they will join the operation only after the government fulfils
The operation to count the number of big cats in
Orissa will be conducted for three days in the tiger reserves and is
expected to continue till May 13 in other forest areas.
said their demands include introduction of group patrolling in forests
in place of the age-old system in which only one or two forest
officials are given charge of a particular area.
They are also
asking the government to equip them with firearms and weapons and have
sought parity with police in terms of compensation and incentives for
working in Maoist-affected districts.
‘All these demands are genuine. We need to save our life first,’ Patnaik told IANS.
gunned down a forest guard last month and attacked a forest check gate
inside the Sunabeda sanctuary in Nuapada district.
Upadhyay, field director of Simlipal Tiger Reserve, told IANS: ‘Without
the involvement of forest field staff, the enumeration operation is not
According to the census of 2009, the Simlipal
National Park in Mayurbhanj district – one of the first project tiger
reserves in India – was home to at least 60 tigers.