Bandhavgarh Nat'l Park inferno doused

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Umaria, MP, Apr 22 (UNI) The Bandhavgarh National Park's tourist zone was reopened this morning after the dousing of an inferno that broke out on April 16, Park sources said.

There was no report of animal deaths.

Park managers yesterday claimed that all-out efforts were underway to douse the blaze. The fire spread to Khitauli Range's Domabeed at 1000 hrs yesterday.

About 100 members of the Eco-development Committee, 50 employees of Project Tiger and 400 others were battling the inferno and tankers rushed to the zone.

Accusing the Park management of carelessness, wildlife expert and former MLA Narendra Pratap Singh told UNI here, ''with the onset of summer, arrangements should be made for removing dry leaves beside roads.'' The blaze spread on April 20 to Bamera in Pataur Sanctuary and Khitauli Range's Salkhaniya Beed. The inferno had broken out in the tourist zone and spread over about 360 hectares affecting Uttar Gohni, Bahauni, Sukhadem, Arharia and Rajbahra areas. It enveloped Kalwaha Range's Chechpur and Uttar Mehnawa on April 19.

An elephant and some smaller animals were killed in a similar fire in 1989. In 1999-2000, another blaze caused damage.

UNI XC-AC 2102

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