Ramesh advocates new policy for wildlife sanctuaries

Kendrapara: Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday advocated a new policy to ensure peaceful coexistence of humans and wildlife in sanctuary areas.

It is an `irony` that people consider wildlife sanctuaries as detrimental to their interests whereas the government is taking steps for preservation of wideranging flora and fauna and ecological balance, he said launching the Rs 227 crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) at Okilapal in Orissa`s coastal Kendrapara district.

"People want reduction in the size of sanctuaries as they feel their livelihood is being affected, while we are thinking in terms of expanding such areas … It is our responsibility to take measures so that people don`t consider sanctuaries as a threat but something beneficial to them," said Ramesh, who also released a Shoreline Change Assessment Atlas.

Revenue earned from tourism in areas like Similipal Tiger Reserve and Bhitarkanika national park in Orissa could be used for local development, he said.

Referring to problems like wild boar menace and ban on fishing for seven months in a year, Ramesh said he was ready to consider steps to tackle them.

However, if fishermen are deprived of their livelihood due to the ban on fishing and people face wild boar menace, it was the primary responsibility of the state government to deal with these problems. The Centre can only help and supplement, he said.

ICZMP could be extended to other areas considering its requirement, he said and added it would look after the livlihood of the families affected by the ban on fishing in order to protect the turtles.

Ramesh said the Centre would provide for five students from fishermen`s families every year for pursuing hiher studies related to coastal matters.

As the area was mostly dominated by the plumbers and mechanics, he also announced establishment of a technical instiutute at a cost of Rs five crore to facilitate local youth to be trained in plumbing and coir industries.