Forest department wants insurance for guards tracking killer leopard in Mumbai



The forest department wants insurance for the guards who are tracking a killer leopard in Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

The Thane forest department, which has SGNP in its jurisdiction, has written a letter to the park to get insurance for every guard in the team.

While forest department employees have insurance, guards — like those on the leopard mission at SGNP — are contract workers who have no insurance.

Rescue teams from Thane and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) are the first to reach sites of animal conflict and are vulnerable to accidents. 2 teams, consisting of a dozen guards, are now on patrol at Aarey Milk Colony, outside SGNP, trying to trap a leopard suspected to have attacked 4 people and killed one since March.

Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden of Thane said, “The step to insure the rescue teams has been initiated and we have found a company who is ready to provide them with insurance. As we know that rescue tasks involve high risks, it is thus necessary for the department to ensure their safety and security. We have figured out an agent who is willing to help us, however, only after an official communication between the authorities and company are received can we take a step ahead. ”

Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forests, Thane, said, “Many guards are posted at places that put their lives at risk. Hence, we believe that they should be covered well with monitory benefit. Additional monetary security to them is the aim of coming up with an idea of insurance to people.” He further added, “Many guards work on contract and hence possess no government benefits. They will have some kind of security and thus be more encouraged to perform their duty by doing the same.”

An official termed it to be a precautionary step.

“Though there hasn’t been an attack on any guard till now, we cannot assume them to be safe,” said the official.

One of the members from the SGNP rescue team said, “We would be grateful to our department if they think of their safety and take this initiative.”

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At Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, officials continue long wait to trap leopard that attacked 5




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