Maoist fear grips Orissa forests as staff boycott tiger census
Bhubaneswar: With Maoist fear gripping
jungles of Orissa, a section of forest officials Saturday
boycotted tiger census at two different places including
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary.
"So far we have received information regarding
officials not participating in the tiger census exercise at
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary and at Keonjhar forest disvision,"
Chief Wildlife Warden P N Padhi told a news agency.
The forest staff, who had earlier demanded security
from the state government, refused to enter into the forests
apprehdning attack by Maoists, an official said.
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses 32 tigers
according to a census conducted in 2004, witnessed killing of
Sangram Swain, a forest guard, by Maoists last month.
"We demand firearms and security as provided to
police personnel in Maoist-hit areas," the General Secretary
of Orissa non-gazetted Forest Service Association J B Patnaik
Though they had served notice to the government about
the association`s plan to refrain from tiger census unless
their grievances were addressed, no action had been taken,
Both Sunabeda and Keonjhar forest divisions were
identified as Maoist-hit.
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