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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Demand to exclude Nagdwar temples from Satpuda tiger reserve

By Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Dec 11, 2012, 06.09 PM IST NAGPUR: The Pachmarhi Bachao Kruti Samiti has clamoured for excluding Nagdwar and Mahedao temples from the jurisdiction of Satpuda Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh's. According to rough estimates, at least 10 lakh people visit Nagdwar every year during Nagpanchmi festival. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is 28km from Pachmarhi hill station, with motorable road till Dhupgad, some 14km away. Nagdwar is a complete walking trail through dense forests, valleys and streams. The yatra unveils many facets of human nature and of nature itself. However, as the area falls in the core of tiger reserve there are restrictions on visitors under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972. On December 3, a delegation led by working president of the samiti Umakant Zade met Hoshangabad district collector Rahul Jain and later on December 6, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Bhopal. "Nagdwar area should be excluded from the tiger reserve and declared a place of pilgrimage. The forest department recently demolished temporary shelters for yatris at Nagdwar. Chouhan has instructed the forest officials to stop demolition," Zade told TOI. Although Chouhan assured the delegation that the state government would extend all possible help to solve problems of the yatris, the government was bound by the recent Supreme Court ruling on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves. The pressure on forests due to pilgrims in the two months around Nag Panchami is apparent. Zade said the samiti is mobilizing devotees from all over Vidarbha to file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Jabalpur High Court soon. Former MLA Marotrao Khawse, Chandrabhan Sonarghare, Ravindra Thakre, Arun Mozarkar, Damodhar Maske, Ramesh Gaurkar, Hiraman Shende, Soniram Kshirsagar, Dipak Saudagar, Gunderao Piturkar and others were part of the 30-member delegation. Zade said forest department forbids all construction, so pilgrims cannot hope for better facilities or sanitation. Defecation in open will thus continue and permanent night shelters are out of the question. There is a road for four-wheel drive vehicles till Nagdwar, but it remains closed. "Nagdwar is excluded from the reserve it will not only help devotees but many tribals will get employment," said Zade.

Poacher chopped off tiger's limb for cooking

By P Naveen, TNN | Dec 12, 2012, 12.31 AM IST BHOPAL: One of the poachers, who killed a tiger in Umaria, close to the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve two days ago, took away one of its limb for cooking. The accused, Bhola, reportedly butchered one of the limbs of the tiger and took it away, telling his fellow poachers that he would go home, cook and eat the meat. The shocking fact has come up during interrogation of the poachers by the forest authorities. Five accused who were arrested by the forest staff were on Tuesday produced in the court which remanded them to the custody of the forest department. The tiger hide was recovered by the forest staff dumped near a culvert. While the skin was recovered, other parts of the body including its kidney, liver and intestine were also missing. Autopsy revealed that one of its hind limb was cut off with a sharp edged weapon, while soft organs were consumed by predators. Bhola and his two accomplices Thakurudeen and Dasu are still at large. Efforts are on to arrest them, said R P S Chouhan, conservator of forest (CF) Umaria. We are hopeful about recovering the tiger nails which the accused had cut and taken away, he said. Five persons belonging to Palia tribal community, Darohi village (Umeria) were arrested for electrocuting the tiger near Bandhavgarh reserve on Sunday night - a few hours after its skinned carcass was found near Ghunghuti range. The accused were identified as Ram Singh, 39, Ram Milan, 30, Rajan, 24, Sukh Sen, 32, and Raju 28. The tiger skin buried in the jungle, using salt as preservative, was recovered from them. During interrogation, accused - Ram Milan - told forest officials that Bhola, who lured them to skin the tiger, took away the limb, for eating. He maintained that the trap was laid for wild boars, but the tiger fell into it accidentally. The tiger got killed on the intervening night of December 7 and 8. Panicked poachers dumped the tiger body into a culvert and went back to their village. Later in the morning they discussed the matter with Bhola and other relatives. And subsequently they agreed to revisit the spot to collect its skin, bones, nails and meat. The tiger was skinned on the intervening night of December 8 and 9. Bhola's attempts to extract teeth of the tiger by hitting it with axe failed, after two of the canine teeth's broke into pieces, making the set of teeth redundant, Ram Milan told interrogators. As his share in the kill, Bhola took away the hind limb for consumption along with three nails, said officials quoting revelations made by the arrested poachers.