Panaji: Dealing with tiger poaching and illegal mining isn`t really a walk in the park. Perhaps that is why forest guards in Goa`s seven wildlife sanctuaries will now whiz through the woods on motorcycles to detect and check forest crime.
State Forest Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues, who handed over 30 motorcycles to forest guards in Panaji, told reporters Friday that the 100 cc bikes would ensure mobility and quick reaction as far as forest-related crimes like poaching are concerned.
"They earlier used cycles or go on foot for patrolling. The two-wheelers would help in reacting quickly and cover a bigger area for patrolling," Rodrigues said.
The minister said the motorcycles were procured from funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), a central fund for maintenance of forests.
"We have received Rs.12.2 crore as the first instalment of the fund this year. We have worked out annual plan which envisages purchase of vehicles, mobile phone connections, research and boundary clearance survey," he said.
He added that the state government was also studying a proposal to set up a comprehensive wireless network in all wildlife sanctuaries.
Goa`s forest cover of approximately 1,400 sq km and seven wildlife sanctuaries are under threat from illegal mining, which is eating into the forest areas, largely in collusion with top forest department officials, according to wildlife activists.
A recent tiger poaching incident and attempts by the officials to allegedly hush up the matter has brought the forest department under cloud.