Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 20:
The Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO) today urged the state government to appoint Honourary Wildlife Wardens (HWLWs) in each district with immediate effect.
“Under Section XXX of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, every state government has to appoint HWLWs in each district since they act as a link between the Forest department and the people. The department also involves them in awareness and publicity campaigns for wildlife protection.
They also serve as the eyes and ears of the government by bringing to the notice of the forest department any wildlife issues in their respective areas. However, the state government has failed to appoint new HWLWs since the expiry of terms of the previous appointees last year. This is a deliberate effort to prevent public participation in wildlife conservation”, said WSO secretary Biswajit Mohanty in a letter to Forest and Environment minister Bikram Keshari Arukh.
Reminding the minister of the previous letter in which WSO had urged him to appoint deserving persons as HWLW who can truly contribute to wildlife conservation, Mohanty suggested the minister to direct the Chief Wildlife Warden to review and assess the contribution of each HWLW in the absence of which no automatic renewal should be done for this term.
He also suggested appointment of more than one HWLW in Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Keonjhar, and Kalahandi districts where there is high risk to wildlife; appointment of HWLW in his home district and no appointment of any retired government officer ( in the rank of DFO/ACF) as HWLW since they have little to contribute in view of their advanced age and lack of field movement.