Although the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) isn’t exactly where you party on New Year’s eve, people do sometimes enter the area on December 31. This year though, they will not find it easy to enter the park at night as it’s not just the real bosses of the forest — the leopards — but also the cops who will see to it that tipsy merry-makers don’t spoil the peace of the forest and to ensure that no uncalled for activity takes place inside the park. The SGNP authorities have decided to form special teams, who will not only patrol the forest during the day, but also conduct combing operations in the night.
SGNP Director Vikas Gupta told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “Our patrolling team inspects the entire forest on a daily basis but with the New Year approaching, we have decided to form special teams who will not only do the patrolling round the clock but will take special care during night time to catch hold of miscreants who venture into the forest from illegal entry points in order to celebrate inside the park. We will be taking strict action against those who are found violating the laws.”
It should be noted that in the past, too, miscreants have tried to enter the SGNP from illegal entry points to celebrate the new year but this year, the forest department has decided to deploy a team of five to eight people each at 25 such locations. Moreover, the authorities have also decided to deploy additional staff at the main entry gate of SGNP who will thoroughly check the cars and also the baggages of tourists and motorists entering the park during the day.
“Our Range Forest Officers (RFOs), Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACFs), Forest Guards, Foresters and the Forest Workers will be a part of this entire exercise. I have clearly instructed the staff that the security check at the main gate should be carried out in such a manner that not a single visitor enters the park with liquor,” added Gupta.
On New Year’s eve, the main gate of the park will be closed for public by 5.30 pm and after that, not a single private vehicle will be allowed to enter the park till next morning up till 9 am.
“We have observed that many people enter the forest under the guise of celebrating the new year in the adivasi padas, saying that they are relatives of the people staying there. But this year, we have decided to visit the padas at night to see if there is any party going on. If we find that there are people consuming alcohol and playing loud music, then action will be taken against them” said an RFO.