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Forest guard helping poachers exposed after official jeep gets stuck

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CHENNAI: What happens when a forest guard aids poachers? In this case in Coimbatore, nature intervened to expose him, but he is yet to be arrested.

Forest department sources said Kannan, a guard in the PN Palayam range had taken four armed poachers into the forest in an official jeep. The vehicle got stuck in mud, forcing Kannan to hire an earthmover to extricate the vehicle. This spilled the beans, and police arrested the gang and recovered licensed arms and ammunition.

Kannan took the poachers to the Thadagam area. But soon the jeep got stuck in mud. The guard called up an earthmover operator in Thadagam. When the earthmover came into the forests it made such a fuss that officials came to know of it.

The range officer arrived at the spot and seized a licensed weapon with a live round of ammunition from Sakthivel and Balamurugan. They were arrested on October 30.

Environmentalists said that instead of taking punitive action against Kannan, the authorities transferred him to the Nilgiris south forest division. Similarly, no action was taken against the other accused, Mohankumar and Venkatesh.

Cases were not filed against the offenders under non-bailable provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. A senior forest officer conceded that Kannan was known for resorting to such activities. He was earlier transferred from Udumalpet to PN Palayam Range on a similar charge, he said.

Coimbatore conservator I Anwardeen played down the incident, saying the guard had travelled in the vehicle to drive away some elephants. “There was no poaching but when rumours spread about the guard aiding poachers, we shifted him to the Nilgiris south division.”

Poaching is not unknown in the region. A similar incident was reported in Veerapandi near Thadagam last Friday, where three men identified as Ravi, Ayyasamy and Sivaraj were nabbed while trying to hunt black-naped hare and wild boar.

Anwardeen said the men were nabbed outside the forest. Wild boar, he said, was a menace here, damaging crops. The men were employed by farmers to kill wild boars straying on to private land.

Conservationists said two incidents happening within a fortnight was a matter of concern. Across the state such incidents are on the rise and the department has to increase vigil on the movement of unwanted elements into the forest areas, they said.

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Source: TOI-Che

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Jail for pilgrims who throw used clothes in Pamba

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CHENNAI: Pilgrims to the famous Kerala shrine of Sabarimala who discard clothes and other belongings in the Pamba river as part of a misconceived religious tenet would face penal consequences that could lead to a jail term up to 18 months, the special commissioner of the hill shrine has warned.

Quoting an October 16 Kerala high court order, special commissioner and district judge K Babu said discarding used clothes and personal belongings in the river was never a practice at the temple. Besides the offender, those accompanying him and encouraging him could be treated as abettors and tried for the same offence, Babu said.

Affairs of the Sree Dharma Sastha temple at Sabarimala are directly controlled by the Kerala high court, and a serving district judge holds charge as special commissioner.

Irked by pilgrims dumping in the river various items, including used clothes, the high court had on October 16 declared that resorting to such acts would amount to an offence under provisions of the Water Act. It said: “Discarding of clothes or any other material, including personal belongings, whether biodegradable or not, into the waters of Pamba by any person is in violation of the provisions of the Water Act, and would therefore generate sufficient basis to consider initiating prosecution for violation of the provisions of the Water Act. When such prosecution results in conviction, the accused would never have any go but to suffer the minimum mandatory sentence of imprisonment for one and half years.”

Abettors too are liable to be punished to the same extent as the principal offender, it said.

The high court said: “We do not see any ebb of custom or usage or part of religious practice, ritual or otherwise, in connection with Sabarimala pilgrimage which requires or obliges or permits any person who is a pilgrim to discard used clothes and other personal belongings of whatever nature into the Pamba river. There is absolutely no practice or usage or religious tenet whatsoever which advise that a person after having darshan of Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha should discard the clothes and other belongings which that person wore or carried to Sabarimala while proceeding to that pristine destination amidst the forest, as a pilgrim.”

Babu, citing the order, requested pilgrims and guruswamis not to discard anything in the river during the coming season which commences on November 17.

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Source: TOI-Che

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IIT-M signs MoU with Japanese firm

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CHENNAI: Indian Institute of Technology, Madras signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japanese firm Alfa TKG Co Ltd, which provides technological support to the manufacturing industry, to work together in areas of research and academics.

Thanapadi Periasamy, president and CEO, AlfaTKG Integrated Solutions India Private Limited said: “There is a tremendous need for developing and applying high technological and manufacturing process automation and optimization solutions. Therefore it is our intention to form strategic alliance with leading technological and IT institutions.”

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Che

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