Poachers : Forest guards :: Terrorists : Police

Jaithirth Rao in The Indian Express:

“If you have visited any of our forests recently, you might, if you are lucky, bump into a forest guard… wearing torn chappals as the budget for shoes has not been approved, and he is likely to be carrying an antique rifle that became obsolete many decades ago. The poachers have no budgetary constraints of a similar nature. They have SUVs, night-vision goggles, AK-47s and cell phones.

“Millions of poor Indians find the budgetary space to buy cell phones with prepaid cards, but our bloated environment ministries are loath to provide forest guards with the same. We have budgets for imported bullet-proof Mercedes cars for our VVIPs; we have budgets for hundreds of safari-suit-clad security personnel for our leaders; we have budgets for changing the names of cities as a substitute for improving them; we have budgets for bloated meaningless committees where we can park our inconvenient cronies; we have budgets for florid press advertisements from various comic ministries lying blissfully as they make claims to non-existent achievements. We have created a BSF, an RPF, a CRPF, an ITBF and a CISF — but when it comes to creating a Forest Protection Force, suddenly our fiscal constraints surface.

“Why can we not have a vigorous group of security guards for our wildlife? Why can they not be equipped with GPS devices (why bother being a pretend IT superpower if we cannot do this), with goggles that can help pick out poachers in the dark (you can buy them in any department store in the US), with telescopic rifles of the automatic or semi-automatic variety (you can order them cheap from the bazaar in Peshawar), with sturdy shoes to trudge in the forest (ordinary tourists seem to be able to afford these), with vehicles that can move fast along jungle tracks (we do have a world class automobile industry, don’t we), with mobile telephony that can help them access each other (we have the fastest growing mobile telephone industry in the world — but I guess we choose not to leverage it)?”

Read the full article: Follow every pug mark

Also read: 5 years = 1,825 days = 43,800 hours = The End?

In Nagarahole, tigers are like city buses