Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary guards sustain with stick, walkie talkie!

Balasore: Forest officials and guards working in Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary in Balasore district are surviving in adverse conditions. And the arrival of rainy season has affected them adversely when they are not equipped to face it. Not to mention the attacks by poisonous insects that lead to skin rashes and damage to body.

At a time when the sanctuary has become a prime target of wood mafia and illegal poachers, the forest guards perform duty under threat to life with only a stick and a walkie-talkie for communication.

“We are bothered about mafias but what affects us most is being bitten by infectious insects and leaves. We get scars and infections that cause rashes and itching in the body”, Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary forest guard, Kabitarani Mahakud said.

The Sanctuary has a ranger, an additional ranger, three foresters and 66 Sabuja Bahini activists who are paid rank wise. The employees working under harsh conditions regularly suffer from stings, mosquito bites, leech bites and infections due to the dense environs.

The forest officials have urged the government time and again to provide them with independent adequate medical supply but no step has been taken in this regard.

“We would be happy if we get medical supplies for tackling such problems because we live under trying situations. If we are not given equipment to deal with such problems, most of us will fall ill at regular intervals,” Sabuja Bahini activist, Krushnachandra Rout said.

However, District Forest Officer, Harshvardhan Udgata along with Wildlife Sanctuary Ranger, Lakshman Pradhan agreed to the problems faced by the workers but at the same time tagged these issues are ‘minor things’ and said one should not be serious about these.