Villagers at the meeting in Mango on Friday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Tribals residing in the 85-odd villages dotting Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary have promised to not kill animals during Sendra on May 12.
The pledge was taken on Friday during a marathon meeting among top forest officials, villagers, members of eco-development committee and Dalma Buru Sendra Samiti at the conference room of Mango range office.
Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) A.K. Malhotra, PCCF (wildlife) D.K. Srivastava, regional chief conservator of forest (Jamshedpur) K.K. Chatterjee, conservator of forest (Ranchi) A.T. Mishra, his Jamshedpur counterpart Satyajit Singh, divisional forest officers Kamlesh Pandey (Ranchi wildlife division) and A.R. Natesh (Jamshedpur), and Dalma range officer Mangal Kashyap attended the meeting.
Malhotra spoke at length on the development projects undertaken by his department at the Dalma sanctuary.
He also urged the villagers to just perform puja in the forests instead of hunting and killing animals. The PCCF also assured the villagers that the forest department would construct four toilets (two for men and as many for women) besides initiating drinking water projects.
In return, the villagers promised a bloodless Sendra and support in promoting eco-tourism.
“No animal killing was reported during Sendra for the past two years. I am retiring later this year and would like to make a hat-trick of ensuring a bloodless Sendra. I am very optimistic,” Malhotra told The Telegraph.
The assurances from villagers notwithstanding, the Dalma range office will take precautionary measures on May 12. DFO Kamlesh Pandey issued instructions to foresters and guards to be on alert during Sendra.
He asked them to keep their wireless sets in order and inspect various motorable roads where hunters lay nails to puncture forest vehicles.
“Check the roads properly and remove the leaves under which nails are hidden. Also, arrange pump and adhesive at Pinderbera guesthouse so that punctured tyres can be repaired,” Pandey told his men.
Villagers said they had realised the futility of killing animals. “I think the awareness campaign by the forest department has made us understand the importance of animal conservation,” said Fulchand Besra of Bhadodih village.