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Park where lioness killed man waits for spl gates

Over four months after a security guard manning the lion safari gates at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was mauled to death by lioness Shobha

Written by Nitya Kaushik |
September 9, 2010 6:01:18 am

National park had agreed switch-operated gates important,but guards continue to work manually four months on

Over four months after a security guard manning the lion safari gates at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was mauled to death by lioness Shobha,the park is yet to install mechanical security gates at the safari entrance.

The installation of automatic,switch-operated gates was deemed the most important measure to increase safety in the area.

SGNP director P N Munde said the forest department has approved the plan to install automatic gates,however,the actual installation work will begin only by March next year.

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“We will now begin the tendering process. It is a long process till we award the contract to a company and finalise the budget. Till then we will have to be content with the manual gates,” he said.

On April 20,Harishchandra Gembal,the only security guard manning the inner and outer safety gates of the 21-acre lion safari plot,opened the gates for a bus carrying visitors. Typically,the inner gate is opened to let the safari bus into the buffer area. Once the bus enters this area,the inner gate is shut and the outer exit gate is opened. Forest officials said that Gembal did not close the inner gate before opening the outer gate giving the lioness space to enter the buffer area.

The forest department conducted an exhaustive study on the causes of the accident. The report concluded that there was an urgent need to upgrade mechanism and strengthen security.

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“We have posted two guards — one each at the inner and outer gates of the safari. However,it will be a few months before the old style manual gates are replaced by mechanical gates which opens and closed with a press of a switch,” Munde said.

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First published on: 09-09-2010 at 06:01:18 am

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