Tuesday, November 10, 2009

India: 'Pucca roof' to save villagers from leopard attacks

Bipin Chand Agarwal, TNN 9 November 2009, 01:26am IST

BAHRAICH: The constant attacks by the tigers and leopards have coaxed the forest department to take an initiative to save lives of the people. The department has come out with a plan under Indira Awas Yojna to provide around 2,690 'pucca roof' houses to the villages adjoining Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. With the 'pucca roof', the leopards and tigers will not be able to jump inside the thatched houses at night and snatch children. It will also reduce the risk to the cattle.

RK Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO), wildlife, Katarniaghat sanctuary, said: "The attacks by the leopards and tigers has considerably increased during the last six months and more on the houses with thatched roofs." He said that houses under Kakraha and Katarnia range were more prone to attacks while Nisanghara range were partially affected. Rampur, Matehi, Nidhipurwa, Ramnagar Kanda and several other adjoining villages are attacked by the wild beasts.

The selection of 2,690 houses has been made on the basis of the attacks during last 10 years. The worst affected villages were included in the first phase. Singh said that the houses that were identified in the first phase of the plan were old. Therefore, there was a constant risk. The DFO has sent a letter to the rural development commissioner in this regard. Recently, chief conservator of forests (CCF) and rural development commissioner held talks on the issue.

A total of Rs 2.75 crore will be spent in the construction of the houses. Singh said that each house will cost about Rs 1.25 lakh, adding that the plan will be completed within one year after receiving the 'green signal'. Moreover, solar light will also be installed in the selected villages.



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