Choose those best qualified to be 'Warriors of SGNP'
One has to keep in mind that well-meaning though they may be, these are ordinary citizens who need access to security in case of any untoward eventualities
As part of a new plan to conserve Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and protect it from poaching, forest fires and trespassing, the authorities along with a group of researchers will soon start working on a project called 'Warriors of SGNP', a report said in this paper.
What this rather combative sounding name means is that housing societies on the park's periphery will be identified and residents be made volunteers to work as the eyes and ears of the park authorities. Their job would primarily be to pass on information regarding illegal and suspicious activities in the park to the officials concerned.
The warriors would also be provided camera traps post a short training session so that they can be installed along the park's periphery. This will help them provide information to the authorities daily. This is a good project as it involves those who are invested most in the area — the locals who live around it. It is surely beneficial to rope in citizens to be eyes and ears of the park. It is also practical, as they are the ones that will have most access to this space and are continually near the park.
What is important though is that these volunteers need to be picked very carefully. A great deal of thought needs to go in, after defining criteria about the task ahead and the persons best qualified for it. The other aspect that needs to be looked into is briefing and training of these volunteers. It should be clear and comprehensive. There must also be recourse to expertise and help in case a dangerous situation arises.
One has to keep in mind that well-meaning though they may be, these are ordinary citizens who need access to security in case of any untoward eventualities. Citizens and authorities can and must work in tandem but ventures like these must be meticulously charted out, with back up measures in place.
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