Bhopal: As many as 295 posts at various levels are lying vacant in six tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh, posing a security threat to the big cats.
A highest of 222 vacancies are at the level of forest guards, 46 at foresters, 25 of forest rangers and two of deputy forest rangers, according to an information received in response to an RTI query filed by activist Ajay Dubey.
Of the total vacancies, 87 are in Satpura Tiger reserve, Hoshangabad, 62 in Kanha Tiger Reserve, Mandala, 46 in Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Sidhi, 44 in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Umaria, 37 in Panna Tiger Reserve, Panna and 19 in Pench Tiger Reserve, Seoni, it said.
According to an official data of National Tiger Conservation Authority updated till April this year, as many as 16 tigers were found dead between January and March, 2012, in Madhya Pradesh.
Tiger population in the country was estimated to be 1,706 as per the 2010 data. Madhya Pradesh has about 257 big cats in its various reserves.
Incidentally, Madhya Pradesh has not yet constituted a Special Tiger Protection Force despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's directive to the state government in this regard two years ago.
The Prime Minister had in April 2010 had written to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan emphasising on "urgent need" to ensure safety of tigers through a slew of measures including declaration of buffer areas at tiger reserves and setting up of a special force to protect the wild cats.
"It is unfortunate that the State Government has not filled vacant posts in various tiger reserves. It has also not formed a Special Tiger Protection Force to save the wild cats.
We will soon meet the Chief Minister in this regard," Dubey said.
Authorities have in June found a full grown tiger dead in the forest area of neighbouring Sehore district allegedly killed by poachers.


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