Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 22:
Odisha Government will soon appoint 350 forest guards and 650 foresters, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) JD Sharma said here yesterday.
Speaking at the World Forestry Day function organised by the Forest and Environment Department of Odisha Government at Jayadev Bhawan here, Sharma said a notification in this regrad would be issued within the next 15 days.
“Forest theft has gone down in areas where the local units have worked better. A joint effort by us, the media and locals can bring in even better results. We will hire about 350 forest guards and 650 foresters by April 2015. We will issue the notification within 15 days. The process is in final stages,” he said.
Two forest range officers, six foresters and 12 forest guards were awarded for excellence in duty on the occasion by the Chief Minister, who was also the Chief Guest of the event.
“It is extremely important to reduce the dependence of people living inside forests on the forests in order to protect the jungles. Odisha is doing very well in the forestry sector. In fact, the forest cover in our state is much better than other states in India,” said Patnaik.
“The state government has undertaken massive programmes this year to create new jungles. The government will also undertake programs to create public awareness in coordination with local forest protection committees and eco development committees in the coming days,” said Bikram Arukh, Minister of Forest and Environment.
It may be noted that World Forestry Day or International Day of Forests is celebrated worldwide on March 21 every year to create awareness on deforestation and its impact like climate change and the significance and contributions of forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.
As per recent studies, 500 million hectares of jungles have been burnt or wiped out worldwide in the past decade itself. However, in Odisha, 3406 square kilometres of jungle have been added in the state from 1997 till date. The state government also continues to award and felicitate men and organisations working on forestry.
Fire seems to a large issue affecting most of the forests and its wildlife in the state. A whopping 15,363 instances of fire, which have damaged 13,140 hectares of jungle, have been reported in the state between 2005- 2015.
Menace of Maoism and timber mafia in the state have also added to the challenges of forest officers as evident from that fact that six foresters and forest guards have lost their lives to them in the state within 2008-2011.