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Fullgrown trees are being felled at the Kanha national park, but the authorities say they are only cutting down saplings!

WILDLIFE

Cutting down a heritage 


USHA KRIS brings back hard evidence from the Kanha national park to show that fullgrown trees are being felled while the authorities make themselves scarce  


What is India News Service
6 April 2005


I was in Kanha, Madhya Pradesh, recently. In the week I was there, the Director was not in the park even a single day. Apparently he spends most of his time elsewhere. I wanted to meet him but could not.

DFO NS Naggi was not there either. The third in command was very courteous, but did not have a clue to what was happening in the park. At least 100 (I think) 50-year-old trees were felled in 10 days. He insisted that only saplings were being cut. He said he knew nothing about those trees. We even tried to stop one from being cut, but he kept smiling. There was no surprise.

Young students are out looking for tigers in the tourist zone where every tiger is familiar to the regulars. 

1) These students from Dehra Dun are using up funds to study what has already been studied.

2) The park authorities say they have no funds, but they do not think twice about letting these young punks take away the elephants and roam the forest in search of tigers. I calculated that in February, on one day, they lost a revenue of Rs 25,000. This is because every foreigner has to pay Rs 600 for a tiger darshan on the elephant. And this is held up whenever the young students go around, and there is no tiger darshan and hence the loss of revenue.

People travelling across the globe, getting to Kanha, staying for three days or so, often get no tiger sightings. We saw elephants in the distance being used by students.

If the authorities really want research, they should have separate funding for it, and in areas outside the tourist zone. In two years, with the negative publicity generated by disappointed tourists, there will be no income from foreigners. In two years the students finish their project. And who knows other students may want to do the same after that.

Now that a tiger is poisoned and the director cannot make a statement, no one knows what is happening.


Uaha Kris was awarded the Bharat Nirman for artistic photography and may be contacted at ukrishnaswamy@hotmail.com
 

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