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Forest academy to train a new generation of guards

Special Correspondent
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Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has called upon the Union government to enhance the assistance for construction of trenches and electric fences to keep wild elephants from entering human habitations.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for a forest academy at Arippa, near here, on Saturday.

The Minister said the academy would mould a new generation of forest guards equipped to tackle emerging threats such as climate change and the challenges of conserving natural assets. “They will be trained to love nature and handle environmental problems,” he said.

He called upon the panchayats to make use of the Forest Department's scheme to provide wood free of cost for housing projects targeting tribal families in the State.

On the approval given by the State government for a project to relocate families living in the wildlife sanctuaries, he said the pilot project would be launched in Wayanad shortly.

Mr. Viswom said the government's decision to declare 6,000 acres (1 acre = 0.4 hectare) of land as reserve forest would help preserve water sources. The planting of 1.81 crore saplings across the State was a major achievement.

J. Arundhathi, MLA, presided. A. Sampath, MP, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests T.M. Manoharan spoke.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs.10.04 crore, the academy will come up on the premises of the Forest School. The Japan International Cooperation Agency is providing Rs.5 crore for the project.

K. Raju, MLA; district panchayat president Remani P. Nair; Sajan Peter, Principal Secretary, Forests; and Chief Conservator of Forests C.S. Yelakki were present.

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