Sanjay Gandhi National Park goes hi-tech

Two years after lioness killed guard after he forgot to shut the gates, the park will receive mechanical gates that will open and close with the push of a button

Two years after a lioness killed a guard manning the gates of the lion and tiger safari, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) authorities have decided to replace the manually operated gates with mechanical ones.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Chief Conservator of Forest and SGNP Director, Sunil Limaye said, "The decision to install mechanical gates at the Tiger and Lion Safari entrance has been in the pipeline for a while. We are in the final stages now, and the gates will be installed in February."

The hand that guards the gate will no longer be in danger of being bitten
off. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park authorities will install mechanical
gates for the safari next month pic/ Rane Ashish

Limaye had met officials of the Hyderabad Zoo in November to finalise the design of the mechanical gates. The Hyderabad zoo officials have the required expertise. The benefit of a mechanical gate is that a person would not need to open and shut it. The gate can be operated with the press of a button located in a cabin, some distance away. However, the gate can be manually handled too, in case the mechanics go awry.

The design of the gate was finalised in discussions with engineers from the Public Works Department. Tenders for construction will be invited in the first two weeks of January, and by February the officials look forward to
inaugurating the new gate.

SGNP authorities have also strengthened the boundaries of the safari after the accident that occurred in April 2010, when 40 year-old Harishchandra Gembal was killed by Shobha, the resident lioness of the park. The big cat attacked Gembal after he forgot to shut the gate that led into the buffer area, which he had opened for the safari bus to pass through. Soon after this incident, the proposal to install mechanical gates was
presented, and it will finally see the light of day after two years.

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