Guard of honour for Murugesh
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Guard of honour for Murugesh

February 20, 2017

Forest staff seek pay parity with Police.

Aranya Bhavan premises in Ashokapuram in city was, yesterday, the venue for officials of the Forest Department to present a guard of honour to Forest Guard Murugesh alias Murigeppa Thammangol, who died while trying to douse the fire that broke out at Kalkare range Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday.

The mortal remains of Murugesh was brought to Aranya Bhavan at about 1.30 pm after post-mortem was conducted at the PHC in B. Matkere of H.D. Kote taluk by Dr. Chandrashekar, to pay last respects to the departed soul.

A host of Forest Officials, including PCCF Hosamath,  APCF Paramesh, CCF S. Das, APCCF Abhay Singh, Project Tiger Director Manikandan, DCFs Dr. V. Karikalan and Ganesh Bhat, Mysore Zoo Executive Director Kamala Karikalan, Antharasanthe RFO Mahesh and others placed wreaths on the mortal remains of Murugesh to pay their last respects.

Later, arrangements were made to shift the body to his native village of Alagur in Sindagi taluk of Vijayapura district where last rites were performed this afternoon.

Forest staff demand pay parity with Police, stage dharna beside coffin of Guard: There were dramatic scenes at Aranya Bhavan here yesterday when Rangers and Guards staged a snap agitation beside the coffin of the deceased Forest Guard Murugesh.

Their demands included pay parity with the Police. They said that despite working in hostile terrains and inhospitable situations as the Police, there was disparity in the salary structure and other facilities. Though the Officials announced a compensation of Rs. 25 lakh to the deceased guard’s family, the rangers argued that the same benefits would not be available to them if they were caught in a similar situation in territorial forest areas and neither would they be covered by the Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) funds.

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PCCF Hosmath and APCCF Jayaram assured the Guards that their demands would be placed before the Chief Minister at the State Wildlife Board meeting convened on Monday.  

The Guards also flayed Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai for not reacting to the tragedy and District in-Charge Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa for not turning up to pay his last respects to the Guard.

Fighting forest fires

Meanwhile, the Forest Department has decided to take up large-scale clearance of lantana and other weeds around swathes of forest area in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the State, in a bid to create an effective barrier against fire.

The plan is to compartmentalise forests into blocks of 100 to 200 hectares or acres and remove lantana around the periphery of each compartment, so that a gap created by removing the dry vegetation around each block acts as a firebreak.

PCCF Hosmath said that the work on clearing lantana around each block will be taken up on priority basis.

 

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