JTF consisting armed constabulary to guard Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj

Baripada: A joint task force (JTF) comprising at least 100 armed police personnel will be deployed to guard Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Mayurbhanj district. This was decided in pursuance of an earlier meeting chaired by the Odisha Chief Secretary in Bhubaneswar.

“In pursuance of the decision taken in the meeting held on 22nd June 2023 under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Odisha on strengthening of protection measures in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), it is decided to set up a Joint Task Force (JTF) under the Chairmanship of the Field Director of STR, comprising of both Forest and Police personnel with 1 (one) company of Armed Police Constabulary. Accordingly, after careful consideration of the proposal of the PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Odisha, conceptualised in consultation with the IGP, East Zone, Balasore; SP Mayurbhanj; DFO, Baripada and the Deputy Directors of Similipal North and South Wildlife Divisions, the Government have been pleased to set up the JTF under the Chairmanship of the Field Director, Similipal Tiger Reserve with the following composition and Terms of Reference (ToR),” a government notification read.

The duly constituted JTF may co-opt any further experts/ Civil Society groups/ scientific community/ any individuals for the discharge of duties and responsibilities.

Notably, disciplinary and administrative controls will rest with the SP, Mayurbhanj whereas operational control will be vested with the Company Head who in consultation with the Field Director/ JTF shall deploy the force, the Forest department notification mentioned.

Terms of Reference of the Joint Task Force (JTF):

  • To collect intelligence and identify people holding illegal arms and ammunition in fringe/ buffer villages of Similipal Tiger Reserve and prepare a database.
  • To take comprehensive action involving forest and police personnel in de-weaponising all the illegally acquired weapons in the fringe and buffer villages of Similipal Tiger Reserve.
  • To effectively deploy the force to counter any armed poachers inside Similipal Tiger Reserve.
  • To deploy Forest and Police personnel at susceptible anti-poaching camps/ sensitive areas for regular patrolling.
  • To provide capacity building to forest personnel in the form of training on the use of firearms as well as in dealing with armed poachers inside the forest area.
  • To take any further measures as may be necessary for the protection of Similipal Tiger Reserve and its wildlife.
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