APW's death: TN forest dept officials to pool in money to help aggrieved family
Chennai, April 23 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu forest department officials will pool money among themselves to help the family of an Anti-Poaching Watcher (APW) who died while on duty.
P. Ravichandran (41), an APW with the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) of the forest department encountered a wild elephant along with a few colleagues on Thursday. While running away to escape from the animal, he fell down and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.
The APWs of Tamil Nadu is working on a temporary basis at a consolidated pay of Rs 12,500 and there is no other compensation. However, the ATR has a scheme of Rs 3 lakh insurance to be paid to APWs who die while on duty and Ravichandran will be a beneficiary of that.
In an online meeting held on Friday, the forest department officials of the ATR decided to pool money among themselves to help the family of Ravichandran in addition to the insurance claim.
Ravichandran is survived by his wife and two children aged 14 and 11 years and the younger child has hearing disabilities.
ATR, Deputy Director, M.G. Ganesan while speaking to IANS said: "We are pooling money from among the forest department staff and also recommended the government to assist his family by providing funds from the relief head of the department. The APWs under ATR have an insurance claim of Rs 3 lakh and that will also be provided to his family."
Notably, the APWs of Tamil Nadu who are mostly employed to prevent the human-animal conflict in places bordering forest areas work without proper job security and pay scale.
The 2,000 APWs of the state mostly drawn from tribals get a consolidated salary of Rs 12,500 sans other benefits. Except for the APWs under the ATR, there is no insurance benefit to them despite they living under the threat of wild animal attacks. Several of them have been trampled to death by wild elephants.
A senior officer with the ATR told IANS that the APWs must be provided life insurance as also increase their pay and perks.