Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced to make provision of compensation for villages that volunteer to relocate in the interest of wildlife protection.
“I am happy to announce that the state government will provide compensation for villages that volunteer to relocate in interest of the protection of wildlife area,” Patnaik said while addressing a function marking the 62nd State Level Wildlife Week celebration in Bhubaneswar.
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According to the state government’s proposal, the compensation will be made available to villages located in all the 19 sanctuaries and buffer zones of Tiger Reserve, Patnaik said the rate of compensation will be at par with the central scheme which is only for the core area of tiger reserves. The funds requirement will be met from the state’s own funds, Patnaik said.
Noting that the recent census figures have shown a rising trend of various wildlife in the state, the chief minister said, “Our sustained efforts have yielded satisfactory results for salt water crocodiles, black bucks, elephants, migratory birds and dolphins. The number of Olive Ridley Turtles visiting the Odisha coast for nesting has also steadily grown.”
Stating that importance of conservation of nature and wildlife is much more than ever before, Patnaik said protection and conservation of biodiversity has many challanges, Patnaik said, “It requires intensive resources and skilled expertise. It also needs active cooperation of a wide range of stakeholders like wildlife enthusiasts, animal lovers,researchers and others.”
Patnaik said the local residents and villagers in the vicinity of protected areas have a special role and must be encouraged to participate in the process of conservation of wildlife and protection of their habitats.
“The recent incident where a herd of elephants including two calves were fed by local people when they were trapped in an island amidst flooded water of river Baitarani, is indeed laudable effort,” Patnaik said, adding fulfilling requirement of forest and fringe dwellers is at the core of successful conservation.
The local people must be provided with necessary infrastracture like good roads, drinking water and sanitation, health education, vocational training, homestead land and pucca house, he said, adding awareness through proactive communication is important for conservation.
On the occasion, the chief minister conferred the prestigious Biju Patnaik Award for Wildlife Conservation for 2015-16 to Dr Gourang Charan Rout for his outstanding contribution. Patnaik also congratulated the award winners of different competitions held on the occasion of the state level wildlife week celebration.