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Maulekhi laments failure to pull up Corbett Administration in spite of 'shortcomings'

Dehradun, Jan. 21 -- Gauri Maulekhi, Member Secretary, People for Animals Uttarakhand, andCo-opted Member, Animal Welfare Board of India has stated it is most shocking that despite numerous reports of documented corruption, the Director of the Corbett Tiger Reserve has still not been pulled up for the shortcomings. The failures of the administration of the park have resulted in a record number of tiger deaths in the Park, last year. What is ironical is that every person who spoke up against the widespread corruption and incompetence has been witch-hunted.The erstwhile Director of Corbett, PC Joshi, prepared a comprehensive report indicating that an Honorary Wildlife Warden was involved in the killing of 5 male elephants in park. He submitted the report to the Chief Wildlife Warden. Joshi was immediately sent on a punishment posting and the report was shelved without an inquiry. Another Corbett Director, Vishwa Bhooshan Gaur, objected to the same person's parallel administration in the park and his regular flouting of rules. Gaur was removed from the post even before he could complete 7 months in the office.The same Honorary Wildlife Warden has now illegally occupied a building in the core zone, she has alleged, but the state government has, for some reason, taken no action against him even after video evidence had been submitted by People for Animals Uttarakhand, recently.Strangely, the Director of Corbett is using one third of the forest guards available in the park at his office in Ramnagar. The remaining are either at the entry gates or running canteens in the park. Whatever little patrolling is happening is being done by daily wage labourers. The results are proportionately preposterous. Camera traps get broken, poachers pitch tents in the core zones and wildlife is bearing the brunt of it. To add to the list of wonders, the Park Director "forgets" to mention in a case that tiger meat was found at a poacher's settlement in Bijrani, one of the most important ranges in the Park. Then under pressure from the organisation, he sent the intestines recovered to WII for testing, but denied getting the result for almost 7 months till NTCA member Maneka Gandhi had to get the truth out of the WII Director.The case of tiger poaching ended in the government files with the following quote "Poaching could be prevented due to the diligence and effectiveness of the forest staff". The tiger intestines recovered had neither been investigated nor even registered till date. She adds that no action had been taken by the state against the park administration either.Most surprising under these circumstances is to see irrelevant and self congratulatory film functions being hosted by the state government while nothing is being done to resolve the crisis. The forest department can certainly do better than to continue patting itself on the back by showing archival film footage and fancy narration at high profile congregations. The citizens of Uttarakhand are now waiting to see if the state government can do the needful to save Corbett's Legacy or will children need to refer to video tapes to see a tiger....

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