The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) has urged the authorities of the Forest Department not to construct barbed wall and stone rubble wall to protect saplings under the ongoing plantation programme in the State.
WSO secretary Biswajit Mohanty in a letter to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest has raised concern over the safety of the wild animals as the walls would hinder their free movement and injure them.
Mohanty pointed out the barbed wire fencing constructed around a large plantation site meant exclusively for the needs of lord Jagannath chariots near Pakatamunda village in Anantpur reserve forest and Mahabirod range in Dhenkanal district.
He stated that the under construction barbed wire fence to be put around plantation site near Gurjang of Dandiri section, Hindol forest range in Dhenkanal is proposed to be 2 km along one side of the forest road and about 1 km on other side between Gurujang and Kanaka.
The enclosed site has been planted with teak by clearing natural forests. Artificial plantation over natural forests means no fodder for wildlife, including elephants, he said.
In the same Dandiri section , massive plantation work is going on near Chadoi and Baguli villages around which the same kind of barbed wire fence is proposed. Besides, a rubble wall of over several km is proposed around a 100 hectares of plantation site near Pangatira village under Mahabirod range. This shall be unprecedented since such a vast wall in the State was not heard of earlier. Mohanty stated that the area is a rich elephant habitat and such a long and high stone wall shall block elephant movement leading to increase in man-animal conflict.
Mohanty further stated that earlier the department used to set up green fence comprising of bamboo and Amari and wondered why the same cannot be done now to protect plantations instead of setting up harmful fences of barbed wires and obstructive stone rubble walls that totally block movement of wild animals.
He urged to issue immediate orders to remove the barbed wire fence to allow free movement of animals and instruct all Forest Divisions of Odisha not to fix barbed wire fence or rubble wall inside forests for protection of plantations.