Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has decided to set up a world-class veterinary hospital in the Chandka forest area.
The hospital would be developed as a center of excellence with advanced knowledge, equipment, and research and development activities.
It was discussed in the state-level meeting on ‘elephant protection and conservation in Odisha’ held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy.
It was decided to build three underpasses on NH-55 in Dhenkanal, Redhakhol, and Athmallik forest divisions during this year to save elephants from vehicular accidents.
Tripathy directed that the DFOs and DISCOMs should be in regular interaction with each other for minimizing the electrocution death of the elephants.
He directed to keep a strict vigil over the miscreants and criminals intentionally hanging the livewire to kill the elephants for ulterior motive.
It was decided to take drastic legal steps against such criminals and expedite the process of prosecution.
The meeting resolved to intensify elephant protection and conservation activities in elephant habitats like Mahanadi, Mayurbhanj, and Sambalpur elephant reserves spreading over around 8509 sq kms, through plantation of the species generally consumed by the elephants.
Around 23 such species were identified and listed. The proposal for weed eradication, meadow development, fodder plantation along with the creation of more water bodies were approved in the meeting.
Additional Chief Secretray for Forest and Enviroment Mona Sharma appraised about exiting 14 elephant corridors in the state.
It was decided to further develop two corridors namely Similipal-Hadgarh and Barunai-Nuagada corridors.
PCCF (Wildlife) HS Upadhaya appraised that as per a study conducted by Asian Nature Conservation Foundation Center for Ecological Sciences of IIS, Bangalore around 1700-1800 elephants can be sustainably managed within larger forest landscapes of Odisha.
The elephant population in Odisha has shown an upward trend during the last seven years.
In the year 1999, the total elephant population was around 1827 which grew to 1862 in the year 2007, and then to 1930 in the year 2012, and, further to 1976 in the year 2017.