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Brotherhood in the ‘woods’

Statesman News Service |

Tribal women in Sulipada area of Hatimoda village tied rakhi around sal trees in the nearby forest on Thursday. 

Society For People&’s Awareness And Rural Development Action (SPARDA) in association with Forest Protection Committee organised the event. Assistant Conservator of Forest in Baripada Forest Division of Mayurbhanj district Arun Kumar Patra, Deuli forest ranger Ashok Kumar Das, environmentalist Vivekananda Pattnayak and secretary of the SPARDA, sarpanch of Badavalia Gita Rani Naik, Jungle Mahasangha&’s president Balabhadra Singh and several others joined the event as a mark of protecting the trees and our wildlife.

Patra emphasised on the protection of forest taken by government and importance of the role of the forest dwellers. Addressing the people social activists and tribal women and children and the young mass in the meeting, he said that Similipal national park in Mayurbhanj, one of the largest biosphere reserve of the country has been widely popular due to nature, protection of forest and wildlife. 

Local forest dwellers are engaged in sustainable livelihood measures while taking steps to protect the forest and wildlife, he noted. A number of forest protection committees have been taking up key role to safe Similipla forest beside role of forest department, he made it a point to make it clear to the local tribal men and women, children and young mass to save forest and never disturb the wildlife. 

Vivekananda Pattnayak said his organisation has been conducting the awareness programme of tying rakhi to trees since 13 years in the district. Trees are like brothers for everyone, he said. 

Sarpanch Gita Rani Naik said local people were committed to protect trees and the forest. The tribal women said traditionally tribals never fell trees. 

“We worship trees and we depend on forest produce, hence we take care of the forests, it is only a few unscrupulous outsiders who lure tribals with money to cause damage,” they lamented. The ‘outsiders’ are the ones responsible for degradation of forests, they said.