Cyclone Nisarga led to damages worth 15 lakh in Maharashtra’s Phansad sanctuary

The 69.79-sq km sanctuary, located in the Western Ghats, will remain shut for tourists due to restoration work, till the end of July.
Residents of nearby Supe village have been assisting the forest staff in mending damages to affected structures.(ANI file photo. Representative image)
Residents of nearby Supe village have been assisting the forest staff in mending damages to affected structures.(ANI file photo. Representative image)
Updated on Jun 17, 2020 11:40 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByBadri Chatterjee

Cyclone Nisarga has been responsible for 15 lakh worth damages to the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary located across Murud and Roha talukas of Raigad district. According to the Maharashtra forest department, on June 3 the severe cyclone damaged several rest houses after trees fell on them while rooftops of huts and entire tents, used as tourist accommodations, were blown away.

The 69.79-sq km sanctuary, located in the Western Ghats, will remain shut for tourists due to restoration work, till the end of July. With the onset of the southwest monsoon and heavy rain over the south Konkan district, restoration is currently on hold. Forest officers said June and July were busy months with high tourist footfall for trekking and birding, which is likely to affect tourism revenue for the year.

“Phansad witnessed maximum tree fall cases among any other protected area along Konkan due to the cyclone. The office headquarters building witnessed minor damages, with portions of the roof blown away, but no impact on the foundation. However, branches and barks of large trees have fallen on adjacent rest houses and huts. Tin roofs of major structures were damaged due to gusty winds,” said Sunil Limaye, additional principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife west), Maharashtra forest department, who visited the sanctuary on Monday.

In comparison, the 12.11-sqkm Karnala Bird Sanctuary in Panvel did not sustain any major damages and minimal tree fall was reported there, said Limaye.

Though 20 forest staff were present at the sanctuary on June 3 when the cyclone made landfall, no injuries or fatalities were reported. “We have no reports yet of animals sustaining injuries either but owing to hundreds of tree fall incidents mostly for mango, ficus, ain, teak, etc, bird nests have been affected the most since this was their nesting season,” Limaye said, adding, “However, damages within a fraction of the sanctuary have been assessed so far, since most roads are blocked due to fallen trees. We will get more information in the coming days after restoration.”

Similar to the rest of the district, there has been no electricity at the sanctuary since June 3. “We have been informed that power will be restored within the next eight to 10 days,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents of nearby Supe village have been assisting the forest staff in mending damages to affected structures. “We have issued clear instructions for forest officers not to venture out during heavy rains due to the presence of predatory leeches that are in abundance during monsoon,” Limaye said.

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Monday, November 29, 2021