Experts Recommend Elevated Walkway at Tirumala to Protect Pilgrims From Wild Animals

Vijayawada: With a view to providing protection to pilgrims on their way to Tirumala for darshan of Lord Venkateswara, experts from Wildlife Institute of India have recommended to the AP government to develop an elevated walkway, set up a chute and strengthen the tele-communication network.

The recommendation was made in the context of the recent incidents of leopard attacks on children. A three-year boy survived while a six-year-old girl died due to injuries while they were on their way to the shrine along with their family members.

Frequent spotting of wild animals like leopard and sloth bear along the walkway are causing panic to the pilgrims. The state government has roped in experts from WII and other agencies to take up a study and recommend both long-term and short-term measures to protect the pilgrims.

Accordingly, the experts from WII along with senior officials from the AP forest department have come up with a series of recommendations. The call is to develop an elevated walkway for some stretch near the Lord Lakshmi Narasimha temple.

This requires forest as well as wildlife clearance. The elevated walkway has to be developed on the existing walkway. “As the walkway passes through the reserve forest area, permission has to come from the National Board of Wildlife headed by the Prime Minister as its chairman. The modalities and feasibility are being worked out,” officials said.

As for the recommendation to set up a chute, the idea is to carry the garbage all the way from the hilltop to the bottom. As a huge amount of garbage is being generated on the hilltop and this is being dumped recklessly, wild animals are getting attracted to it.

“Firstly, dogs, cats and rodents after the huge mounds of garbage being collected daily. Leopards come to attack them. Sloth bears have also become a menace as they too are being attracted to food and causing panic among the pilgrims.”

Thirdly, strengthening of the telecommunication network would help the pilgrims get alerts on movement of animals along the walkway. The forest department in association with TTD has set up camera traps and screens to facilitate the alerts.

The short-term steps recommended are installation of high-end camera traps along the walkway and strengthening the wildlife outpost by deploying veterinary experts armed with tranquilizers. They can deal with the wild animals in case they start attacking the pilgrims.

Additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Shantipriya Pande, said, “Work would start once the requisite clearances are obtained.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story