The forest department seized four trucks of logs worth three lakhs and sealed illegal saw mills at Rohmoria. A team, led by Magistrate, Bipul Das, and Ranger of Dibrugarh forest Division Kushal Deka, made raids at Bogoritolia under Rohmoria Police Station yesterday. It is to be noted that trees felled illegally at Dibru - Saikhowa are transported to Rohmoria where these saw mills run. The conscious citizens have welcomed the forest department's move.

A bird poaching racket is thriving at this popular sanctuary, located just 50 km from the city. If the 350 odd nets seized and destroyed by the forest department and the arrests of culprits in recent months are any indication, poaching could threaten Nal Sarovar. Forest department officials say, "For four months, from October 2007 to January 2008, six persons have been arrested and 96 birds recovered.' An official said, "Members of the Padhar community, which dominates the villages on the periphery of Nal Sarovar, are engaged in poaching for meat.' The major birds found in Nal Sarovar include storks, spoonbills, pelicans, ducks, flamingos, cranes and coots. The poachers spread the net like a curtain across two poles. When a bird glides down, it gets trapped. Once the bird is caught, poachers immediately twist legs of the bird so that it cannot walk. Next, wings of the bird are clipped. Officials said that even if the forest department were to rescue these birds, it would be useless as they would not be able to walk, swim or fly. An official, pleading anonymity, said that the recovery of these nets from the area in this season was an indication that poaching was rampant. A forest officer said if at all there was trading of birds, it was only within the community. He said a small bird would fetch not more than Rs 15 to 20 while one that is full grown would cost around Rs 30 to 35. The officer further said that there were only 12 staffers to man an area of nearly 120 km and three personnel were sent on deputation to the place during the period between October and March. Deputy conservator of forest BD Modi said that in order to check illegal poaching of birds, the department has designed some 15 routes which the teams have to traverse every day. He said that these rounds had helped curb poaching.

One reason why state forest department is badly upset with the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

Works would be undertaken under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the National Parks. This information was given by Forest Minister Kunwar Vijay Shah at a meeting of officers of National Parks, Forest Department and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme . This meeting of officers of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Forest Department was held for exploring the possibilities of starting works under this Scheme at forest villages. Those present on the occasion included Secretary Rural Development Ashok Shah, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Wildlife PB Gangopadhyay, Chief Conservator of Forests Suhas Kumar, Conservator of Forests Wildlife and Vinay Burman of Narmada Valley Development Authority. Forest Minister Kunwar Vijay Shah said that it is necessary to include residents of forest villages in the mainstream of development. For this purpose, works are getting done on a large scale. Ashram Shalas for children of forest villages' dwellers are being opened from July in the next session. He told the forest officers that whatever works are necessary for development must be done. For this, development schemes for villages falling under National Parks, Sanctuaries and forest ranges should be chalked out. Whatever works can be done under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be done and for the remaining works resources should be mobilised for the Forest Department. He told the officers to get the saplings of fruit-bearing trees planted at the Badas of beneficiaries belonging to scheduled tribes. He instructed the Forest Department officers to seek the guidance and cooperation of Technical Department officers in construction works. Secretary Rural Development Department Ashok Shah gave information to the officers about National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme . He said that many beneficiary-oriented works like Kapil Dhara, Nandan Phalodyan, Bhumi Shilp, Nirmal Vatika and silk sub-plan can be implemented under the Scheme . Similarly, works of community development including Shail-Parna, Nimal Neer and Vanya sub-plan can be launched. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests PB Gangopadhyay told the officers that vast possibilities of labour-based works exist in the area under National Parks and sanctuaries. With a view to tapping these possibilities works under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme-MP can be launched. On the basis of information under the Act, forest officers should prepare schemes and present the same to the concerning District Panchayat. The workshop was also addressed by officers of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme , Joint Commissioner AK Singh and chief engineer AK Choudhary.

Deterrent: Subrat Mohapatra, District Forest Officer (left), inspecting fence erected along Semmalai reserve forest in Tiruchi district The Forest Department has erected solar-powered electric fence on some stretches along the periphery of a few Reserve Forests in the district in an effort to prevent animals from entering human habitations and damaging crops. The work has been carried out to a total length of 15 km along the boundary of Semmalai and Karupureddypatti in Manapparai range; Pulivalam, Omandur and Vellakalpatti in Tiruchi range. The Department spent Rs.24 lakh for the work executed under the State Wildlife Scheme. The fence in Semmalai and Karupureddypatti have been erected to a length of 2.5 km each, 3 km each in Pulivalam and Vellakalpatti and four km in Omandur. The fencing work was carried out following frequent complaints from villagers that animals such as Indian gaur, wild boar and deer were damaging their crops. District Forest Officer Subrat Mohapatra said that animals entered villages in search of water, especially in summer. The low voltage impulse from the fence would act as a deterrent and not harm the animals, said Mr. Mohapatra. To meet the water needs of animals, the department planned to establish small percolation ponds inside the forest. Tiruchi district has a total of 86 Reserve Forests. The department planned to carry out fencing work to a total length of 30 km during the next financial year.

Top representatives of the Forest departments of the North-east, NGOs and other agencies are attending a two-day regional workshop on "Bamboo flowering: Status and management strategies' which got under way at the Deovan-based Rain Forest Research Institute here today. Several State Forest departments, NGOs, paper corporations and consultants, both national and international, had participated in a similar national-level meet at the same venue in April, 2002. The Planning Commission incorporated the recommendations made at that meet in its document on "National mission on bamboo technology and trade development.' These recommendations have served as guidance for management of bamboo flowering in the north-eastern States in particular and the country as a whole. The present workshop is a sequel to the previous consultation meet and will highlight those issues which did not figure in the last workshop, RFRI research officer Dr TC Bhuyan said. Suggestions and opinions for the development of RFRI as a centre of excellence for bamboo research will also be entertained at the workshop, he added. Recommendations and strategies for future course of action will comprise the agenda for the concluding session of the workshop, slated for tomorrow.

School children can now look forward to environmental education through eco friendly parks as the State Social Forestry Department is all set to revamp the 29 nurseries spread across all districts of the state to convert them into national green corps parks. "In 2001, the forest ministers of all states in the country met at Coimbatore where they resolved to spread environmental education by conducting orientation for students. This was under the scheme National Green Corps,' said Prakash Thosre, director, Social Forestry, Maharshtra.


Gleaming Scorpios, Boleros and Ambassadors, glitzy motorcycles and gadgets to make an office comfortable

A two-month-old male elephant calf that got separated from its mother from the wild was rescued by forest officials in Erode district.