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Involve locals in forest projects to avoid more Veerappans: Yogi

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath stressed on connecting people with wildlife and environment protection. He said, “If participation of local people is not ensured then scores of Veerappan would emerge thus endangering jungles and wild animals.”

lucknow Updated: Feb 10, 2018 16:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Dudhwa (Lakhimpur Kheri)
Bird festival,Dudhwa,National park

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath stressed on connecting people with wildlife and environment protection. He said, “If participation of local people is not ensured then scores of Veerappan would emerge thus endangering jungles and wild animals.”

The chief minister was at Florican village, Tiger Haven in Kheri to inaugurate the three-day long International Bird Festival jointly organised by UP forest department, UP eco-tourism and FICCI. The festival would conclude on Sunday.

Describing Dudhwa National Park (UP) as one with immense eco-tourism potential, Yogi Adityanath observed, “Its promotion and well-planned development through public cooperation would not only protect the reserve but provide local employment.”

The chief minister directed authorities to chalk out projects “to develop all the 38 identified spots in UP, which have possibilities of tourism including spiritual tourism, heritage tourism and eco-tourism.” He asked the forest officials to include locals in each development project. “There are 38 places for eco-tourism and each year 4 or 5 can be developed that will also to generate jobs,” he said adding: “But include locals in such planning. If you behave like an enemy with locals then Veerappans will be born at several places.”

He further said special efforts will be made to develop market for handicraft made by local Tharu tribe. “We have made solar electricity facility at several places. Here (in Dudhwa), if required cables can be put across the forest and also schools based upon system of ashrams will be built,” said the CM and added further villages around Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, where people from Tharu tribe live, will soon get electricity.

Flanked by forest minister Dara Singh Chauhan and minister of state Upendra Tewari, Yogi Adityanath released two wildlife books on Dudhwa Tiger Reserve including a coffee book and eco-circuit board besides inaugurating a wildlife documentary on Dudhwa by Green Oscar winner Mike Pandey and another on Indian cranes. He also felicitated wild documentary maker Mike Hargovind Pandey and British ornithologist Tim Appelton their contribution to wildlife.

In his 38-minute long address, the chief minister focused on eco-tourism and made no political statement.

Appealing people to keep close to nature for a happy and tension-free life, Yogi Adityanath lauded Dudhwa National Park and described it next to South African wildlife sanctuary in terms of rich bird population. “Yet this aspect of Dudhwa was never promoted,” he said.

Voicing concern over the poor condition of UP tourism department guest house (Tiger Den), poor road connectivity to Dudhwa and unused Palia airstrip, Yogi directed forest officials to connect Pilibhit and Dudhwa Tiger Reserves to boost tourism and subsequent employment generation.

THARU HANDICRAFT PROMOTION

Yogi Adityanath has assured to promote Tharu handicraft and to provide a market for their products. He said, ‘Under one district-one product scheme in Kheri, Tharu handicraft would be promoted.’

REVIVAL OF SUHELI RIVER

The chief minister voiced grave concern over the Suheli river, which passes through Dudhwa. He said siltation had led to the Suheli going dry. He instructed the district administration to coordinate with forest department to ensure desiltation to revive the river. He also directed them to carry out plantation on either side of the river.

AIRSTRIP REVIVAL

Yogi Adityanath, while stressing on proper road connectivity through two lane and four lane roads, suggested to engage 25-seater helicopters to make Palia airstrip operational that would boost tourism. Yogi also instructed authorities to have discussions with Kheri MPs and legislatures to explore possibilities about setting up an institute in the region to prepare nature guides. He also asked them to engage people to have tourists at their homes as paying guests to boost tourism as well as to improve livelihood.

PENDING CANE DUES

Pending cane dues of farmers left the chief minister worried. Yogi said he had spoken to the concerned officials and groups recently to clear pending cane dues. He also advised cane farmers to set up mini crushers to make molasses, which sold at high price than sugar.

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 16:13 IST