State forest minister Rajib Banerjee will visit Sunderbans tomorrow to take stock of the damage inflicted by the cyclonic storm Bulbul that had hit the state on 9 November. “I will visit Netidhopani, Dobanki, Sajnekhali and Jharkhali. I will check the nylon net fencing along the banks of the rivers that have been damaged due to the storm. The tiger rescue centre at Jharkhali that is a major tourist attraction has been affected by Bulbul and we will inquire about its present condition,” Mr Banerjee said.
The nylon net fencing prevents tigers or other animals straying into human habitat. “We have already restored nylon net fencing in 60 per cent of the area which has been identified as critical and the rest of the work will start as soon as funds are available,” a senior official of the state forest department said. Mr Banerjee will also meet the forest officials and staff and survey the restoration work that has been carried out by his department.
To begin with, Mr Banerjee would inquire about ways to speed up restoration of the mangrove cover that has been affected by the cyclone. It may be mentioned that Mr Banerjee has already instructed officials to come up with a master plan to make Sunderbans more attractive for tourists and take measures to increase the mangrove cover. Environmentalists had said that the mangrove cover of the Sunderbans had acted as a shield against cyclone Bulbul.
It was found that the areas located in close proximity to the mangrove cover witnessed lesser devastation. Some of the areas in and around Sagar Islands, where mangrove cover was minimum were badly affected by the cyclone while the effect of the cyclone was lesser in the areas that were under dense mangrove cover.