ALIPORE ZOO CHARGED WITH NEGLIGENCE 

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 16.12.00
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Calcutta, Dec.16 :    Calcutta, Dec.16:  Charging the Alipore zoo authorities with "negligence", the police on Saturday started a case against the zoo administrators and detained two security guards for failing in their duty. The deputy commissioner of police (port), Zulfikar Hassan, said on Saturday night that two securitymen, Akul Kumar Nayek and Tarun Kundu, had enough time to prevent the man from reaching the tiger had they been "alert enough". But they did not manage to do this. The around 30-year-old man, who clambered over two sets of protective fencing and swam across a 25-feet wide moat before embracing tiger Bob which mauled and bit him to death, is yet to be identified. Hassan said that a number of additional security measures were taken after a similar incident had taken place in 1996 when two men entered the enclosure of tiger Shiva. While one had been killed instantly, the other had a miraculous escape after being injured badly. "In the next few days we are going to examine in details what the lapses were and if the zoo authorities could have prevented such an incident from happening," Hassan said. "We will also determine whether the directives of the Central Zoo Authority were being followed at the Alipore zoo." The zoo authorities too are amazed that the "increased protective wall", set up after the Shiva incident could be breached so easily. Before this, there was only one fencing around the enclosure, followed by a 25-feet-wide moat. But a second fencing was erected after the 1996 incident. "We thought this would be enough," said a zoo official. "We never thought there could be someone so determined to die that he would surmount such obstacles." Alipore zoo director Adhir Das said on Saturday that the security arrangements especially around the tiger enclosure had been beefed up and worked at in great details by an expert panel after the 1996 incident. The committee included police, forest and army officials and their recommendations were strictly followed. On Saturday, Das said rather ruefully, "Bob has never attacked anyone in the past, neither has it ever killed anyone. But if someone sneaks into his enclosure like this then there is precious little we can do." Shortly after the Shiva incident, the committee had also said that drunken persons would not be allowed inside the zoo premises. In fact, a bar inside the zoo had also been closed down. But, concede zoo officials, it is hardly possible to screen each and every person to find out whether that person is drunk. "Unless a person is behaving in a drunken manner, we cannot prevent anyone from entering the zoo provided he is carrying a valid entry ticket," Das said. Police officials pointed out that the committee had also said that tranquiliser guns should be kept on the ready especially around the tiger enclosure. But it did not appear on Saturday that any such precaution had been taken. "We will have to look into all these aspects," Hassan said. "If all such measures had been taken then perhaps such a tragedy could have been avoided. But we expect a lot of such anomalies will surface in the next few days," he added. Test aid: FIITJEE has introduced the Rankers Test Papers File for the IIT-JEE screening test. The file consists of 10 papers on the IIT-JEE pattern, designed for the screening test in 2001.