Corbett guards demand hike, threaten to close reserve
11 Mar 2008, 0304 hrs IST,TNN
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DEHRADUN/NAINITAL: Forest guards at the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) in Uttarakhand have warned the forest department that if their pay scale is not revised and other demands are not fulfilled by March 14, they will boycott work and close the reserve.
In view of the threat, state government is planning to tighten security around the premises of CTR’s wildlife zones.
The guards have been long demanding revised pay scale and time-bound promotions besides other facilities.
President of Van Rakshak Sangh Hira Singh said, “We have been demanding promotions and revised pay scale since September 2007 but no action has been initiated yet.”
According to CTR sources, the decision to launch an agitation was taken on Sunday evening at a meeting of forest guards and other employees held at Ramnagar in Nainital district. Talking to reporters after the meeting, senior forest guards Heera Singh and Inder Singh Bisht, said what irks them most is that even those who have served the organization for more than 32 years have been denied their due to them.
“Under the circumstances, we are left with no option but to resort to an indefinite strike,” said Bisht.
Representatives of the Sangh said the forest department promoted all forest guards of the Northern Kumaon Circle, Nanda Devi Biosphere, Western Circle, Garhwal Circle, Bhagirathi Circle and Rajaji National Park but those who had joined the CTR in the mid-seventies have not been promoted till now.
“If they decline to take note of our repeated requests, why should we bother about CTR’s security,” said a senior forest guard in Ramnagar. Sources said if the guards launch an agitation, tiger monitoring activity and tourism will suffer a major setback.
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