Fishermen with boat licence certificates in West Bengal’s Sundarbans region will be provided movable LPG cylinders so that they do not venture into forests to collect firewood. According to authorities, the aim of the move is to reduce man-animal conflict.
“The concept behind this initiative is to stop fishermen from entering the forest area. When they come for fishing they stay for a few days. They park their boats, cook food, and for that they venture out in the forest in search of firewood. This initiative will help maintain greenery and also will reduce the chances of human and animal conflict,” Sundarbans Tiger Reserve Field Director Tapan Das told The Indian Express.
There are 650 fishermen with licences to fish in the area. The authorities have already given 25 fishermen the mini LPG cylinders, which have stoves fitted on top, while 75 others will be provided the cylinders soon.
“In the first phase we will provide it [cylinders] to 100 fishermen. Keeping safety protocols in mind, it is not possible to gather 100 of them together. So, we have formed four batches for the first phase. We plan to provide all the fishermen with these cylinders in the next two years,” said Joydip Kundu of the Society for Heritage and Ecological Research (SHER). It is an NGO that works to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
The NGO is supplying the cylinders, which are being distributed according to a list prepared by the forest department. According to forest officials, between January and August, 10 people have been killed in tiger attacks.
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