P. Oppili

Reserve area expected to be handed over to Forest Department soon

CHENNAI: The Forest Department on Monday posted four field staff to monitor the Pallikaranai marshland.

Sources in the Department said three Forest guards and a watcher had been deputed from another Range and posted at Pallikaranai, part of which was declared as a reserve forest by the State Government three weeks ago.

The four-member team would patrol the marsh and take action against illegal dumping, the sources said.

Though the reserve forest area had been notified, the Revenue authorities were yet to hand it over to the Forest Department, according to a senior officer. He said he expects the land to be handed over shortly to the Department, after which the boundary demarcation would be taken up. The burning of garbage was taking place in the northern part of the marshland, where the civic body dumps garbage. As it was not covered under the notified area, they were unable to take any action against the burning, Forest authorities said.

Wetland status

The declared reserve forest area falls under the Tambaram Range Officer, who reports to the District Forest Officer, Kancheepuram.

Environmentalists feel that the government should declare the area a protected `wetland' and bring it under the Wildlife wing of the Forest Department.

Additional staff

Once that happens, the Department should depute additional staff and provide infrastructure for better protection, said a senior forest officer. The forest required a team comprising at least a forester, two forest guards and two watchers besides a couple of plot watchers, he said.