These are some of the RTI questions posed to forest top brass ever since rumours about an impending declaration of Wayanad as a tiger reserve went viral. But the Forest Department thinks that the queries reflect a bigger plan for land grab in the area by creating the bogey of a tiger reserve destabilising lives in the neighbourhood.
Citing other RTI queries to substantiate this, a senior officer told TOI that “most of the queries seek details of land owners who are voluntarily surrendering their holding for facilitating the demarcation of the proposed reserve”.
Ironically, these questions are flooding the department when there is absolutely no move to declare the area a tiger reserve. “Another questioner wants to know restrictions that would be imposed on construction activities. Yet another query has demanded all details of our rehabilitation plan,” he said.
Three other questions seek a detailed map of the area indicating various zones like buffer, core, etc. “We strongly feel that this is part of an orchestrated campaign,” a source told TOI.
A report from Wayanad submitted by D K Varma, CCF, northern circle, has stated that “the presence of miscreants who are misleading the local population needs to be probed.” Their instigation is the main reason for agitations turning unusually violent of late. The CCF also noted mischievous spread of rumours like how a circus company had let its tigers free in Muthanga thus leading to widespread panic. A trigger for the rumour mongering is the recent spate of cattle lifting by tigers. That is no new phenomenon in Wayanad.
Cattle-killer to be hunted down
Given the high possibility of the cattle-killer tiger of Wayanad turning into a man-eater, the forest department has decided to hunt it down.
V Gopinathan, CCF, in an order issued on Tuesday said a five-member team will ascertain its identity before hunting it by tranquilizing or using cages and “failing which by other means”.