India — Come summer, forest fires are a common phenomena in national parks particularly in the forests encompassing tiger projects. Henceforth wrongdoers have to think twice as state government has decided to hand over all the cases of forest fires to Central Bureau of Investigation( CBI).
This decision of the state government at the behest of forest department and tiger project officials is definitely going to inject a sense of fear into the mind of the criminals and other vested elements who on occasions instigated gullible tribals and others to set fire to forest.
State government has taken this decision in view of the coming summer when anti-social elements will be at their best and try to destroy the forest wealth. It is said that on occasions , many NGO leaders have either instigated tribals or hired outside elements to set fire to forest cover, particularly the forest cover of tiger parks. These NGOs allegedly with an intention to get funds from foreign agencies involved with wild life conservation and protection activities conspired and presented a gloomy picture of burned forests and life of tigers in the tiger projects.
According to forest department officials tiger project officials and other forest department men were a worried lot with the approach of summer and remained on their toes to extinguish the fire. Despite they being on high alert they were unable to check fire incidents, a source said , adding that now criminals , particularly those working at the behest of NGOs will hesitate to indulge in this destructive activity as they will be scared of getting exposed.
Confirming the decision, Bandipur tiger project director and CCF H C Kantharaju welcomed the move as criminals, particularly the conspirators will think twice on the issue. “We have taken a decision on the issue last month and henceforth all cases of arson will be handed over to CBI directly without waiting or seeking the nod of state government” he revealed and optimistically added: now organized forest fires will be the things of the past” he added. Even government is planning to hand over the major incidents of forest crimes to CBI, but now initially CBI will investigate and handle the arson cases in forest areas, particularly in state’s five project tiger areas. DEED chief Srikanth welcomed the decision , but he questioned the forest officials claim on NGOs. Forest department officials instead of making surpassing remarks against NGOs should set right their house in order where internal rivalry among the officials is also one of the prime reason behind the forest fires.