Fresh cards issued; 153 persons to benefit
SALEM: Salem has perhaps become the first district in the state to inaugurate the 'food subsidy scheme' for the Forest department personnel, from rangers down to mahouts.
Inaugurated by the Collector, A. Sukumaran here on Friday, the scheme of the Tamil Nadu Government ensures supply of essential commodities worth Rs 440.90 at a subsidised rate of Rs 162.25 per month to the Forest Department personnel.
The state would incur a recurring expenditure of Rs.1.18 crores per annum.
Essential commodities include rice, sugar, wheat, palm oil, toor dhal, blackgram dal and either rava or maida.
As per the new scheme, the existing fair price cards of Forest personnel were surrendered and separate ones in a distinct blue colour had been issued. Presiding over the function at the Asthampatti South Range Office, District Forest Officer (DFO) A. V. Venkatachalam said that the State Government had introduced the scheme mainly to encourage forest personnel who worked hard against odds to preserve forest wealth.
The scheme would benefit cavady, mahout, malis, forest watchers, forest guards, foresters and forest rangers.
The scheme in the Forest Division would benefit 153 forest personnel, who were safeguarding the forest wealth in 1104 square km, forming 21.09 per cent in the total area of the district. The Conservator of Forests, V. Prabakaran said that the department had undertaken sustained efforts against encroachments and retrieved 3,000 acres of forestlands in the state in four years from 2001. Forest Ranger, G. Gunasekaran and others spoke.