The Department of Forest and Wildlife here is likely to hold a public meeting in early July to discuss and get the views of various stakeholders on the Comprehensive Management Action Plan (CMAP) of the Ousteri wildlife sanctuary.

The report was recently submitted to the government by the Salim Ali Institute for Ornithology and Natural History and would be implemented in a phased manner over the next 5 years at a total cost of about Rs 10.2 crore.

According to officials at the department, the meeting was likely to be held in two sessions. The first would be a general meeting near the lake where grievances from the public would be noted down for consideration.

The second meeting is expected to be held with the tribal communities which live near the lake and whose livelihood entirely depended on the water body.

One of the main objectives of the meeting with the tribals would be to persuade them to give up poaching activities and instead take up other occupations suggested by the government.

While the 18-member Puducherry Steering Committee on Wetlands, headed by Chief Secretary R. Chandramohan, which scrutinised the management plan, recommended that water from the lake be drained annually before the monsoon for accommodating more fresh water, the Fisheries Department has now suggested that fishing activities be allowed in the lake just before the draining is done so that the fishing communities could benefit from the abundant fresh water fishes in the lake.

Officials said that if the proposal was accepted, certain precautionary measures have to be adopted to ensure that fishing activity took place only in the off season and birds were not disturbed during their roosting period.

Also, the department would soon begin the fencing of the lake along the 6 km stretch on the Ousteri Main Road beginning from the Pattukannu area.