Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said the government has decided to set up a sandal factory under public sector and it would start its function within a few months. Inaugurating the valedictory functions of the Wild Life week observance at the Panchayat Community hall, Sulthan Bathery in the district on Thursday he said the LDF government was able to curb the sandal mafia in the State.

Before the government came into being the felling of sandal wood trees by the mafia was nearly 8 trees per day, but the numbers have come down to 0.2 trees per day now. It was controlled after the collective attempts of the government, forest personnel and the public, he added.

Mr. Viswom said the Wildlife department would arrange a three-day nature camp for the winners of the various competitions organised by the department by mid-December at Muthanga and Tholpetty sanctuaries under the Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary.

The Minister reminded the public of the importance of forests and wildlife. We are living under the threat of global warming and we should give special significance to forests and wildlife, he added.

P. Krishnaprasad MLA will preside over the function. Minister gave away the prizes for the State level winners in various competitions organised by the forest department in connection with the Wild Life week observance and the ‘Ente Maram’ project. The Minister also disbursed cash awards for the forest personnel who have secured the Chief Minister’s award for excellence at the function. K.P. Ouseph, Chief Wild Life Warden delivered the welcome speech. T.M. Manoharan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, read the message of the Prime minister on the occasion.

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