Cameras missing from BTR gates

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Oct 2017 10:26:30


By Ankita Garg,

It may sound unusual that Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR), popular for high density of tiger population, is not having CCTV cameras at its entry gates. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve officials have offered excuse in this regard. They say that CCTV cameras could not be installed at entry gates due to non-availability of power. This surprising fact came to fore in information sought by an activist under the RTI Act.

In a RTI application filed by wildlife activists Ajay Dubey, BTR said that there is no camera installed at all entry gates, except Tala gate, due to non-availability of electricity connection. Camera was installed only at Tala gate ticket counter in 2015. “In security plans of wildlife and forest reserves it is compulsory to monitor the gates through cameras. It is really a blunder that national park has no camera installation.

Brokers are active at ticket counters, animals food items are being entered through the gate so it must have camera there,” said Ajay Dubey, wildlife activist. He further said, I asked for CCTV footage of all entry gates in RTI application, but in response, BTR officials said that there is no camera installed in the reserve except Tala gate.

“It is really a major mistake that national park has no electricity connection and no camera installation. The reserve is news for number of tiger deaths for past six month and all of the cases are suspected,” added Ajay Dubey. He further informed that BTR has three main entry gates, including Tala, Magdhi and Khitoli. He said if there is no electricity, they should arrange generator or other provision but it is necessary to monitor the things through camera. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has given in its guidelines that officials should be vigilant, careful and proper security provisions should be there for wildlife.

“It is really a joke and reserve officials are inviting illegal activities like poachers etc with no camera installation,” added Dubey. “NTCA has given no guidelines for necessary camera installation at entry gate. However, as per my information cameras are there and we will enquire the field director regarding issue. We are monitoring all tiger reserves and wildlife through cameras,” said Alok Kumar, Assistant Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF wildlife).

He further said, in some forest areas there are no cameras, but BTR was earlier equipped with camera installation. “However, camera is not compulsory by the NTCA, it is just for our facility,” added Alok Kumar.