By Manjari Mishra, TNN | Jan 12, 2013, 01.17 AM IST
JABALPUR: The Madhya Pradesh forest department has still not learnt its lesson, even after losing 3 tigers to electrocution/ poaching in the last 7 months. Electric wires hanging barely 5 feet above the ground situated half a kilometer away from Vijayraghavgarh territorial area where an adult tiger was electrocuted on the intervening night of December 25-26, point to a criminal negligence which could turn Katni into a tiger graveyard, unless urgent remedial measures are initiated.
Conservationist Ajay Dubey who sent this photograph to the forest minister on January 9, is skeptical about any such possibility. “The state government’s election year commitment to give 24×7 power to all has sent the MPEB officials in overdrive. A reckless exercise is on to put up poles indiscriminately without seeking official clearance from the forest department and Katni furnishes a prime example, he said.
“The district touches the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and the very fact that two tigers died here within last two months establishes the frequency of their movement in the belt. At least 75% of electric poles installed there, Dubey claimed are unauthorized, illegal and ill-maintained but government is turning a blind eye to this anomaly for obvious reasons. A special package of Rs 1200 sent to the centre by the MP government in 2009 to insulate electrical line in the territorial /forest area has been gathering dust, so there seems to be no hope” Dubey feels.
The live wire trap set up by poachers in December was connected to a unauthorized pole, Dubey claimed. The dead tiger he said as per the local information was being spotted in company of a tigress and her litter fortunately the others survived. He had apprised the authority of the fact and has written to the minister to order a probe and fix the responsibility on the issue.
Significantly, the departmental inquiry instituted by the state forest department after a tigress died along with it’s cub two months ago proves Dubey could be right. The tigress had jumped over and contacted a high tension wire hanging low and was instantly electrocuted along with the prey. The report categorically mentions that” lineman P C Burman had noticed the damaged transmission pole informed his superiors and asked for immediate replacement.” His attempts proved futile as instead of replacing the broken pole which was reduced to the height of 8-10 feet as against mandatory 27ft they left it untouched leading to the gory accident.
Similarly the death by electrocution of a 3-year-old male tiger in last June in village Kathotia in Sehore points to the same trend.
Quizzed over the issue, chief wild life warden P K Shukla said that he has specifically issued directives ensure that no high or low tension wires are found hanging loose in the territoral area. We are aware of the danger they pose, he told TOI on Friday.