Umerkote: It may sound incredible, but it is true. Residents of a village in Nabarangpur district have been protecting a forest and its resources for the last 50 years without any fail, a report said.
The village of Siraguda is inside the Beheda reserve forest under Umerkote forest division in Nabarangpur district. The forest spread over 50 hectares of land is close to the village.
The villagers have been doing it on a rotation basis which has been handed down from generation to generation. The villagers patrol the forest boundaries in shifts to protect the forest from timber smugglers and poachers.
The love for the forest and its natural resources is so entrenched in their mind that they have been nurturing and protecting the forest like their own since last 50 years.
The practice is not new and has been carried out for at least five decades, long before the Forest Rights Act, 2006 came into force.
Sensing their deep interest in forest protection, Purnachandra Nayak, divisional forest officer, Umerkote forest division roped in the villagers to form the Vana Suraksha Samiti November 10, 2020.
The villagers under the aegis of Vana Suraksha Samiti and forest department have been able to create a new jungle by planting 10,000 trees on 7 hectares of vacant land inside the forest.
Under the guidance of forest department, they have also learnt and managed to conserve rainwater and save it for future use. The conservation of rainwater has even provided livelihood to some people in the village.
This heartwarming news has come at a time when destruction of forests and green cover has resulted in the threat of climate change.
When contacted, DFO Nayak said that a sum of around Rs 3,42,650 has been spent for plantation during 2021-2022 financial year.
He said that over 20,000 saplings have been planted to create jungles near Ratanguda and Mudiguda villages while various steps are also being taken by the department to foster the life and livelihood of the villagers.