Search This Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

No more breakthrough in Borda poaching case

TNN | Jun 22, 2012, 03.41AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Forest officials are searching the properties of the relatives of five accused arrested in the Borda tiger poaching case. Still investigators have not got any more breakthrough. Five persons were arrested in the case from Ghanta Chouki village recently. Three turned out to be waterhole watchers and two casual labourers of FDCM. But interrogators failed to recover any concrete information about tiger poaching from them. After they were remanded to judicial custody by court, forest officials have started searching at the residences and farms of their relatives for missing body parts. Search was carried out in Asegaon, Janala and Gilbili villages but no evidence was recovered about tiger poaching, sources said. Investigators however recovered two antlers from Rupdas Veladi's residence in Gilbili on Wednesday evening. As he was not available at home during the search, a notice has been issued to him to appear before local forest officer, they said. Investigators are confident of the involvement of the arrested accused in tiger poaching. However they are facing difficulty in establishing their connection with poaching. "We have learnt that tendu leave collectors have seen the accused poachers dragging the dead tiger in jungle adjacent to place where tiger's cropped carcass was found. But due to fear none of eye witnesses has come forward to give the details. Our men are desperately searching the jungle around the spot to trace the location where tiger was poached and cut into pieces," said an officer involved in the investigation. Forest officers are trying to approach every tendu leaves collector who was in that area on the fateful day. Though they have failed to find the location where tiger was poached, but they suspect that poaching was carried out with the help of wire traps in nearby jungle where carcass was recovered, sources claimed.

Lift irrigation to give twist to relocation of TATR villages

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jun 22, 2012, 04.00AM IST NAGPUR: The lift irrigation project in Bhagwanpur for relocated families of Kolsa and Botezari, the two villages inside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), is all set to give impetus to the stalled rehabilitation process. In May 2007, 49 families from Kolsa and 79 from Botezari were relocated in Bhagwanpur in Mul (Chandrapur) to create inviolate spaces for tigers. It was expected then that the relocation, claimed to be one of the best by the officials, would set a precedent, but it went awry and relocation of all the villages in TATR was stalled. Not only the remaining 97 families of Kolsa, other villages - Palasgaon (Shingru), Rantaoldi, Navegaon (Ramdegi) and Jamni refused to move out over relocation mess. "The lake was at the lower side while agriculture fields were at the top. It was difficult to bring water from there to our fields. Secondly, the agriculture land allotted to us was rough and prone to be infertile," says Saitra Kannake of Botezari, a landless who has settled in Bhagwanpur. However, a lift irrigation project is all set to change the stalled relocation, which has already started to look up. Work on the Rs 1.06 crore scheme which started in December, is nearing completion in Bhagwanpur. The project has been specially launched under accelerated irrigation benefit programme (AIBP) of the Central government. "Now water will be taken directly to the fields from the distribution chambers built along the Andhari river. Three separate lines - two 1,200 metres each and one 800 metres have been laid," said Mukesh Rane, executive engineer for minor irrigation (local sector), Chandrapur-Gadchiroli. "Villagers have posed a challenge saying bring water first then only we will come," Rane says. "I'm confident that the scheme will help irrigate 100% rabi and kharif crops as there will be water available till March," he adds. Bandu Dhotre, president of Eco Pro, Chandrapur, who along with Tiger Research And Conservation Trust (TRACT), Nagpur, is helping the forest department to push relocation, says if lift irrigation is one reason, things started moving after high court intervened in 2010. "We conducted a re-survey of Bhagwanpur to understand problems of villagers. These issues were put up at various forums building renewed trust among the villagers. Farmers whose land was infertile go fresh pieces of land," Dhotre says. After efforts from Eco Pro and TRACT, second phase of relocation of 97 Kolsa families started early this year. Of the 97, 24 families have moved out. Of them, 15 went for Option I (Rs 10 lakh cash package) while nine went to Bhagwanpur under Option II. "We hope post-monsoon more families will join Bhagwanpur, the time when lift irrigation will be fully operational," Dhotre told TOI at the lift irrigation site. "Kolsa villagers are keen to move out but a section of landlords in the village is allegedly stopping others. A vicious atmosphere has been created by them so that others don't go. Shifting of more families would mean problem of farm labourers and hence the opposition. But now lift irrigation will break the jinx," says Dhotre. Once a strong opponent of rehabilitation, Sudhakar Madavi of Kolsa has already shifted to Bhagwanpur recently. He hopes lift irrigation will solve agriculture and drinking problem of villagers. The village has already been connected with roads now. Creating Space For Tigers * Over 1,000 hectare land will be vacated if remaining Kolsa, Jamni, Rantalodi, Palasgaon and Navegaon villagers are relocated. * Palasgaon villagers have agreed to move to Talori in Warora tehsil but work has not yet started. * Of the 240 families from Navegaon, 129 have opted Option I and 111 Option II. First instalment already distributed. * Of the 222 families in Jamni, 108 have taken Option I while 114 Option II. Navegaon and Jamni agree to go to Khadsingi near Chimur. * Rantalodi village, which so far opposed rehabilitation, too has responded positively. Caption: 1) The agriculture land in Kolsa has been taken in possession by the forest department after the owners were relocated recently. 2) The water chambers on Andhari river from where water will be lifted through the pipelines and supplied to Bhagwanpur.