Four tigers electrocuted in Bandhavgarh reserve in 11 years
BHOPAL: Four tigers have been electrocuted in the last
four months in the vicinity of the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. Documents sourced
through the Right to Information Act revealed that over the last 11 years
meeting after meeting took place among officers of the power and forest
departments of the state, yet no decision or a concrete step was taken on this
A note from the chief wildlife warden to the principal
secretary, forests -obtained by Ajay Dubey of Prayatna -- states that the
process of electrocution of tigers by poachers began in 1998. Between 1998 and
2005, 22 cases of poaching by electrocution were reported, and the dead
included four tigers and three panthers.
The meetings began in March 2002, when the chief
electrical inspector of the Union government asked all heads of electricity
boards in the country to take steps to prevent poaching of animals by
electrocution and create a cell for protection of wildlife against electrocution.
He also asked officials to invoke the Electricity Act
besides the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, in such cases. Again, in March 2002
the joint secretary, power, of the government of India held a meeting asking
chairpersons of electricity boards to ensure underground cabling of lines in
forest areas, maximum height in overhead lines in case underground cabling is
not possible and prepare proposals for funding of the cabling by the Centre.
In 2005, the MP government, in a meeting with CMDs of distribution
companies, asked them to control animal deaths due to electrocution, install
earth leakage circuit breakers at points where incidence of electrocution is
high and regular patrolling of lines close to forest areas. In response to this
meeting, another was held in October 2005 in which it was decided that energy
department should allow forest department staff to monitor electricity lines.
A meeting convened by principal secretary, forests, in
August 2008 saw six suggestions emerging. Among other things, the suggestions
included a plan for inspection of 11 KVA lines for tripping on earth