NAGPUR: In a classic case of fence eating the farm, a temporary van majoor working at a protection hut in Palasgaon forest range has been arrested for possessing poaching gear.
Acting on a tip-off, forest department personnel on January 30 arrested the accused, Haridas Bawne of Karbada village, and seized a bundle of wire used for electrocuting herbivores and 10-12 batons of teaks meant for making furniture.
Deputy director (buffer) for Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) Gajendra Narwane confirmed the incident and said the accused was not a permanent employee but a helper.
Interestingly, the accused was produced in the local court and sent to magisterial custody (MCR) as forest officials did not demand forest custody remand (FCR).
A section of officials felt that the custody of the accused could have exposed links with insiders and involvement of any staffer.
On April 28, 2012, one tiger was killed and another injured after getting caught in steel traps laid by poachers in Palasgaon range in the buffer zone of Tadoba.
After the Palasgaon tragedy, van majoors were found to be involved in poaching of tigers. The forest department had issued a circular that it would do a verification of existing van majoors and those joining temporarily. But it seems lessons have not been learnt from past mistakes.