Minister for Forests K.B. Ganesh Kumar has said that militant groups have been found active in some forest areas of the State such as Wayanad and Munnar.

Talking to presspersons at Mannarkkad near here on Saturday, the Minister said the militant groups are using tribes for their activities. This has been reported by the Intelligence wing of the State police. Forest officials also have noticed the presence of outsiders in forest areas close of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

He said a new scheme would be implemented jointly by the Forest, Police, and Health departments to reach out to tribal colonies in forests to solve their problems.

The Minister said a research centre for the protection and study of the biodiversity of the unique Silent Valley rainforest was under the active consideration of the State government.

He said the government had taken steps to resettle the tribes living deep inside the forests in Wayanad by providing them all facilities.

Earlier, inaugurating a rapid response team of the Forest Department, constituted to tackle wildlife-related issues, at the Mannarkkad forest complex, the Minister said that forest officials should protect not only the forest, but also the forest-dweller who had a right over it. The officials will be given modern gadgets to protect forests and people from wildlife attacks.

He said that special secret squads would be formed to detect poaching inside forests. Cameras will be set up in interior forest areas to detect those who set fire to forests.

He said a Rs.5-crore worth tendering work for construction of electric fencing to protect the people and settlements near forest areas had been completed.

The inaugural function was presided over by N. Samsudheen, MLA.

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