THE six-day, four-yearly national wildlife census, generally called tiger census, began in Maharashtra on Saturday with partial compliance of the stipulated techniques by ground staff of forest guards and foresters.
As reported earlier by The Indian Express, the ground staff belonging to one of the trade unions, Maharashtra Forest Guards and Foresters Union, demanding upgradation of their pay scales, had threatened to skip gadgets necessary for use in the census. They argued that their work manual did not mandate use of gadgets, and as such, they should get payscale applicable to technical category employees of the government. On Saturday, some areas in the state reported non-compliance of mandated use of gadgets like GPS and personal data assistant (PDA) by forest guards and foresters.
“We received reports of manual registration of data from areas like Chandrapur and Gadchiroli Territorial forest, Akot division of Melghat and some parts of Umred-Karhandla and Bor wildlife sanctuaries,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Rambabu. “We will check the accuracy of the data and take suitable action wherever work is found to be wanting in correctness,” he added.
Hectic parleys with the trade unions over the past few days apparently failed to break the ice.
“We have begun the exercise quite early compared to some other states so we can fix the gaps, if any, to ensure the kind of accuracy that is required. In case of deficiencies, we will get the job redone,” Rambabu said.