By Vimal Bhatia
JAISALMER: Is the Rajasthan government quietly supporting 'the royal sport' called hunting? In the last five years, in Jodhpur and Jaipur alone there were over six dozen cases of wildlife poaching and on the name of departmental investigation, the files are piling up with relevant information, though. No challans have been produced in the court and poachers have not been sentenced for their act. In this case, poachers are "being" encouraged to have a field day.
Besides, in last five years, a total of 49 cases of poaching are under investigation and chargesheet has not been presented in the court. Out of these, 34 cases are pending for more than three years, six cases are hanging fire between one and three years and nine cases are recent ones.
In Rajasthan, in many districts despite lodging of FIR, the department has neither filed chargesheet in the court nor made any intensive efforts to catch the poachers. In the cases of schedule one animals like black buck, chinkara, Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the department failed to produce challan against poachers within 90 days, as a result, they got released on bail
"The lackadaisical approach of the forest department has failed to protect the state animal, 'chinkara' and the state bird, 'Great Indian Bustard,' from poachers. The conservation of the two is in a perilous state due to the self proclaimed 'jurisdiction' of the forest officials," said Harsh Vardhan, honorary secretary, The Tourism & Wildlife Society of India (TWSI).
As per the information received, many revealing mistakes have come to light, which are really serious. Possibly in many districts either due to connivance or sheer negligence, in many cases chargesheet has not been filed for many years, which is really serious and maximum cases are that of GIB and chinkara that are in Schedule One category that are on the verge of extinction.
On December 20, 2012 at Jaisalmer desert national park, near sudasari closoure, a GIB was poached and the desert national park officers on the spot recovered its feathers etc. In this case, Chagan Singh resident of Baeeya and others were named, but till date no chargesheet was produced in the court. The case is almost forgotten now.
In 2013, 10 km from Jaisalmer at Hansuva village, a chinkara was killed. Forest department found blood and some parts of chinkara and even registered a case, but till date, no chargesheet was presented. Similarly, at Ramgarh canal area, chinkara was poached and even case was lodged, but the forest department was far away from catching the culprits, it even did not present charge sheet in the court.
"In last five years, chargesheets have not been presented in the court in many poaching cases. One of the main reasons is delay in departmental investigation and delay in report from Forensic Science Laboratory. In cases of poaching, one of the reasons is not getting time to inquire the witnesses," admitted chief conservator of forest Govind Sagar Bhardwaj.
Similarly, deputy forest conservator Indira Gandhi canal project Mukut Bihari Mathur too accepted that in his division, there are three cases pending that took place in August 2013, December 2013 and January 2014 and investigation of these cases is on. In Abu region, total four cases are under the department investigation. There is one case between one and three years, three cases are over three years and in Jaisalmer there are total four cases, in which three cases are less than a year and one case is over three years old and investigation is going on in all these cases.
"Department investigation is going on in total eight cases in Jaisalmer division. Of these seven cases are between one and three years and one case is less than a year old. Directions have been given to complete the investigation as soon as possible and present the challan in the court," said Jaisalmer district forest officer Bijoi.