Ravaged by Fani, Balukhand may take years to get back its canopy

Puri: After the landfall of devastating cyclone Fani in Odisha, Balukhand sanctuary became one of the worst hit tourist spots. Though the Odisha Forest Department has said that it is trying its best to restore the sanctuary known for its swathes of flora and fauna, many believe that it may take as many as 5 years to restore its enthralling canopy.

“Casuarina plantation will be done in the sea facing area of the sanctuary. In the middle part, wind resistant trees will be planted,” Chief of Wildlife Warden of Odisha, Ajay Kumar Mohapatra, said.

“More number of meadows and artificial sheds will be created,” Mohapatra added.

As per reports, of the total area of 72 sq km of the sanctuary, 50 sq km area has been severely destroyed in the cyclone.

While the Forest Department has not rolled out any concrete plans on how it will restore the green cover, it has decided to use drones and thermal sensing devices to trace the lost animals of the sanctuary.

The Odisha government on Tuesday decided to use drones to locate the missing spotted deer. As per reports, around 4,000 spotted deer had gone missing from Balukhand during the extremely severe cyclone Fani.

Speaking on the revival of the sanctuary, environmentalist Bijay Ketan Pattanayak said, “Casuarina and other trees should be planted which are suitable on sand.  Plants that provide food for animals should also be grown.”