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14 migrant fishermen arrested, trespassing into Bhitarkanika

Kendrapara: Waking up to threat to crocodiles due to unlawful fishing, forest personnel arrested 14 migrant fishermen on charge of trespassing into the prohibited water-zone of Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa`s Kendrapara district.

A patrol squad intercepted three country boats and arrested 14 people who were on board in the fishing vessels on Saturday, Forest department sources said today.

The interception took place on the southern-most part of the national park along Maipura rivulet close to Gahirmatha coast. The arrested people are all traditional inland migrant fishermen living in Rangani village.

Fishing activities in the water-bodies of the wildlife sanctuary and national park is a cognizable offence. Forest department has stepped up vigil against any act of trespassing into the prohibited territories to ensure safety of the flora, fauna and the fragile eco-system of Bihtarkanika," said Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.

The department is sensitising the people living along the peripheral areas of the sanctuary asking them to reduce their dependence on the forest and its adjoining water-bodies.

Besides fishing, collection of fuel-wood, honey, grass and leaves from the forest is unlawful. This is why the department has launched initiatives and comprehensive programmes to provide alternative sources of livelihood for the villagers.

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