Passing the buck

Published: Friday 15 August 2003

Wresting absolute control of forests but refusing to shoulder the blame when things go wrong -- this attitude can be attributed to just about any state forest department (fd) in India. The Mizoram fd is no exception.

After assiduously vowing to protect wildlife and usurping the people's right to manage forests, it has punished villages surrounding the Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary for being uncooperative. The fd claims that local inhabitants refused to lend a hand in its efforts to trace poachers who had recently killed two elephants inside the sanctuary.

fd officials told the media that the divisional forest officer of Chhimtuipui forest division had been instructed to suspend all eco-development works in surrounding villages.

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