The forest and wildlife department will soon launch a green helpline to address distress calls and complaints regarding tree and wildlife offences.“There is a need to have a 24×7 helpline because when people see animals in distress or need help they do not know who to contact. They would either do a Google search or call the police… With the launch of this helpline, they will know who to approach,” said an official from the department.
Similarly, people can also dial the helpline for offences related to trees, like pruning or cutting of a tree without permission from the department. The forest department previously had a helpline to address tree related complaints, but it is presently non-functional, said the official.
“We receive numerous complaints through e-mails and calls directly to us (officials), regarding menace of animals and tree issues. So there is a high level of awareness among people who can now approach the helpline,” the forest official said.
Information received through the helpline will be relayed to the deputy conservator of forests in the area who will look into the issue. Three mobile squads have also been set up to help the forest officials to look into complaints. “Even though we have mobile squads, this will be a joint effort between NGOs and the department to help solve the complaints,” the forest official said.
He added that a meeting is slated on September 18 with the Ridge Management Board where the possibility of hiring 15 staff members, to help with rescue operations, will be discussed.
“If it is approved, five staff members will be given to each division — south, west and north (including east) — and they will include members of the community, such as snake catchers, etc,” the official said.
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