No More VIP Bookings in Jim Corbett National Park
Corbett Tiger Reserve authorities have decided that they will not entertain references from VIPs requesting night stay in forest rest house and jim corbett safari bookings either for themselves or for their relatives and friends, instead these requests would be reported to higher authorities of Jim Corbett National Park. Therefore, in accordance with constitutional principles, orders of Supreme Court and other relevant rules/notifications in this regard, it is hereby ordered by Jim Corbett National Park Director, that any communication received through use of official positions, except for those entitled, in any manner, for the said purpose will not be entertained at all, by any of officials posted in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, the order said. Rules framed by Uttarakhand government regarding state guests allow very few constitutional functionaries like President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker, among others to avail such facilities. "In future such requests are not to be taken cognizance of at all and same has to be returned immediately, in original, to office concerned and matter has to be reported to higher authorities of such offices for action against them, regarding such abuse of official positions," said Sanjiv Chaturvedi, director-Corbett Tiger Reserve, in order.
This VIP culture, which is anathema to principles of equality and fraternity, has created distortions in system of governance and has caused resentment in general public, he said, citing a central government decision on prohibiting use of red beacons on official vehicles. Chaturvedi said communications received by those not entitled to the facilities of stay at Jim Corbett National Park "are nothing but brazen misuse of official positions/ symbols for absolutely private purposes". A lot of people, including those in judiciary and bureaucracy, seek favour from Jim Corbett National Park administration for night stay and safari bookings, among other VIP facilities for themselves or for their friends/relatives, officials said. Wildlife activist Ajay Dubey, who had got a Supreme Court order in 2012 on banning tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves, welcomes this move by Jim Corbett National Park authorities.
Tigers Killing Elephants in Jim Corbett National Park:
Tigers have been found to be killing elephants, mainly young ones, in Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and in few cases eating them too, according to an official study. The findings, which are part of study conducted by Jim Corbett National Park authority, signal a worrying trend in wildlife as tigers usually don't eat elephants, wildlife experts say. A total of nine tigers, 21 elephants and six leopards were found dead in Jim Corbett National Park from 2014 to May 31, 2019, due to infighting and clashes over issues related of mating, according to study conducted by Jim Corbett National Park. "Out of the total 36 cases for the three species, 21 were reported in case of wild elephants alone. However, a very surprising aspect was that around 60 per cent of wild elephant death cases (13) were due to attack by tigers mostly on young ones," it said. Senior IFS officer and in-charge of the national park, Sanjiv Chaturvedi said the phenomenon of tigers eating elephants is unique. "One of its reasons could be that tigers need comparatively less amount of efforts and energy in killing an elephant as against that needed in hunt of species like Sambhar and Cheetal. Killing an elephant results in large quantum of food for them too," said Chaturvedi, director of the park. He said the national park has a unique ecosystem as there are 225 tigers and around 1,100 wild elephants, whereas other national parks like Ranthambore, Kanha and Bandhavgarh mainly have tigers. Even in cases where elephants were killed in infighting, tigers were found eating their body parts, the study said. This peculiar aspect of tiger-elephant conflict needs to be studied in further details, it added. "Regarding remaining cases of death of wild elephants, it was mostly because of fight due to issue of mating," the study said. Wildlife activist Ajay Dubey said this tiger-elephant conflict is unheard of and need immediate attention. "It is really surprising and worrying that tigers are eating elephant. Authorities must look into this aspect and take necessary steps," he said. In case of tigers, total number of deaths during the five years period was nine and out of these, 80 per cent (seven) cases were due to infighting, the study said.
Char Dham highway threatens Jim Corbett’s memorial:
The national highway, leading to Kedarnath and Badrinath, a tall mango tree stands majestically at exact spot where Jim Corbett is believed to have killed a man-eater leopard on May 2, 1926. "The leopard of Rudraprayag" had killed 125 people over eight years, according to official records. The sylvan surroundings of Gulabrai, where big cat claimed most of its victims, still reverberate with scary stories. But a small park, with a bust of Corbett, built to commemorate the killing of the man-eater, lies in shambles. The bust's shattered platform, and empty bottles and waste that litter in park remain a mute testimony of state apathy. Both park and tree are under threat as they fall in way of 12,000 crore Char Dham highway project. "If the highway project is built, this park and tree will be removed," confirmed Brijesh Kumar Tiwari, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Rudraprayag. However, decision is facing opposition from conservationists and locals. "We have taken up the issue with district authorities pleading that tree should not be removed," said Prakash Dewali, a native of Gulabrai. "Both tree and park should be preserved. These things are part of our heritage," said environmentalist Anil Prakash Joshi. The Rudraprayag District Forest authorities claim they don't have enough funds to renovate park. But District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal said efforts would be made to preserve both park and tree.
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