Staff Reporter

Nagercoil: Kanyakumari is the only district where almost all forests are primeval, dense and worth mentioning. Various types of forests from luxuriant tropical wet evergreen forests to southern thorn scrub forests are there in Kanyakumari division because of diverse locality factors varying rainfall from 50 to 130 cm and elevations from sea level to 1,829 meters, said the Tourism Minister, N. Suresh Rajan.

Delivering the keynote address in view of Wildlife Week celebrations organised by the Department of Forest at Scott Christian College on Monday, the Minister said that the people should come forward to prevent the destruction of forest, as it was the heritage of nation. It was the bounden duty of the each and every person to protect the verdant forest of Kanyakumari district.

The forest cover should be at least 33 per cent in every State and now Tamil Nadu consisted of 23 per cent of forest cover, whereas the forest cover was only 17 to 18 per cent three years ago. The environment would be affected, whenever there was a damage caused to forest areas in the country.

When there was a threat to the environment, the consequences would be felt by the human beings immediately.

The department of forest had been encouraging the private parties to raise saplings on private lands to increase the forest coverage in the district. There was enough forest area in the district and this resulted in the timely onset of both southwest and northeast monsoons. Owing to the timely onset of monsoons in the district farmers can under take agriculture operation at the right time, said the Minister.

The Government had been implementing various welfare and development measures for the benefit of Kani people in the tribal belt, scattered in different parts of the district. A sum of Rs.14.58 core had been allotted by the Government to set up solar fencing to prevent the damage caused by the wild animals on the cultivable lands of farmers in the last three years throughout the State.

The Government also disbursed Rs.27.9 crore towards compensation amount to the legal heirs of those who were killed by the wild elephants and other animals in the State. Under Tamil Nadu Afforestation programme, 10 hills and other 35 project areas had been selected for the raising of saplings in the district. A sum of Rs1.33 lakh had been disbursed by the Government to 2,340 persons as an individual loan and loan to the members of 113 self-help groups to uplift their socio economic status.

Moreover, revolving fund to self-help groups had also been disbursed for the benefit of people belonging to Kani tribes. The Tourism Minister also distributed various welfare assistances, including Rs.1.85 lakh to 8 self-help groups, Rs.10, 000 each to 26 beneficiaries and Rs.90,000 to three self-help groups for economic activities.