Forest Department seeks local wisdom
BHUBANESWAR: Its jungles as well as protection staff under increasing attack, Forest Department of the State is all set to add local wisdom and intelligence to its protection measures this new year. It has proposed to add a new layer to its field staff to strengthen the mechanism. The Department has proposed creation of para foresters drawn from the local population to make conservation an efficient affair.The Department has sought deployment of 30 para foresters in each of 50 forest divisions of the State. All of them, however, will be from local villages and will be given a rudimentary training in patrolling as well as protection techniques.
They would be required to accompany foresters and forest guards during patrolling. “We want people with knowledge of the topography and local intelligence so that they can add to the protection strategies which suffers because of inadequate support from local population at many place,” said Suresh Chandra Mohanty, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Orissa. Having a troop of 1,500 para forester with an intimate knowledge of the local conditions makes sense in the backdrop of the recent spate of attacks on forest staff carried out by the timber mafia. In fact, the Forest Department aims at empowering the para foresters in the future so that they could acquire indepth knowledge of the jungle, its plant species as well as wildlife base wherever necessary.
Mohanty said the para foresters will emerge as barefoot botanists for the Department given their acquaintance with the local jungle and the experience which they will gain during work. The Forest Department has proposed creation of para foresters as part of its annual action plan which it submitted to Ministry of Environment and Forests for securing its Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds.The State has sought Rs 214 crore under CAMPA for the year 2010-11.