It has been a month since the forest department decided to set up a permanent rescue camp at Aarey,but it is yet to procure the selected plot from Aarey Dairy Authority. The camp was proposed to reduce the response time for rescue operations during man-animal conflicts.
The delay continues even as the Thane forest division set up two traps Shipping Corporation of India and residential locality in Powai last week,after receiving complaints of leopards being spotted in the area. Cages have been put up as a precautionary measure,said a round forest officer,who also noticed fresh pugmarks in the area during inspection.
An assistant conservator of forests,two range forest officers,four forest officers and seven forest guards have begun patrolling Aarey and Powai areas at night,said S R Padwale,assistant conservator of forest (territorial),Thane.
At present,when a leopard attack is reported in Aarey or Powai areas,forest officials take at least an hour-and-a-half to reach the spot from the Thane forest divisional office.
K P Singh,chief conservator of forests (territorial),Thane,said the forest department had sent a request proposal to the dairy authority last month,but the proposal was stuck for want of approval from the dairy commissioner.
The dairy officials said they had not received any written request for land from the forest department. We have not received any letter from the forest department asking for shelter or land. After we receive the letter,we will send recommendations to the diary commissioner immediately, said Ashok Jadhav,CEO of Aarey Dairy.
The dairy authority had reportedly verbally agreed to give the department a 1,000-sq-ft unoccupied chawl area to set up the camp,during their meeting with forest officials in October.
The Thane territorial wing of the forest department is dependent on rescue kits from Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali. The tranquiliser kits need to be imported. The kit,which includes tranquiliser guns,medicines,uniforms,cages and ladders,could cost up to Rs 10 lakh,said forest officials.