Jim Corbett field officers call for a two-day strike on March 15 and 16
Corbett National Park authorities are gearing up to ensure smooth movement of tourists as field officers have called for a two-day strike on March 15 and 16, to press for fulfilment of their six-point demands. They have announced that all five gates through which tourists are allowed into the park will be locked for two days.
Saket Badola, deputy director of the national park said, “We will do our bit to keep things going and no ruckus will be allowed.”
At present, more than 300 field officers, including senior forest officials, are on active duty in the protected sanctuary.
Virendra Pandey, leader of the field officers, said, “We have given the ultimatum of March 14 to the state government. If our demands are not met, we will ensure a lock down in the the national park.”
The field officers are demanding promotion of forest inspectors to the rank of deputy-range officers, overtime payment in case of emergency duty without shift change for 24 hours, separate allowances for risk (involved in the job) and nutrition, to revision of pay and dues for all the field staff of the national park and payment of compensation from 1996 till date as per the salary scales and allowances of the Fifth Pay Commission.
The five zones which are open for tourists are Jhirna, Bijrani, Dhikala, Dhela and Durgadevi. On average, some 700 to 1,000 tourists visit the park every day. If the lock down is successful, tourists may get stranded or have to face a difficult time.
Named after Jim Corbett, a famous English hunter turned wildlife enthusiast, the national park was one of the pioneers in Project Tiger initiative. Sprawling across a 520-square-kilometre area, it is said to be the home of 110 species of plants, 50 species of mammals, 580 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles.