Port Blair, Nov. 7: The 6th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife was held under the chairmanship of the Lt. Governor, Lt. General (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, PVSM, AVSM at Raj Niwas today. Besides discussing the action taken report of the last meeting and new agenda points, a series of crucial and relevant issues for the conservation and protection of wildlife and flora & fauna of the Islands were thoroughly discussed in the meeting.

The board took decision on change of status of Edible nest Swiftlet from Schedule-I.  The Lt. Governor directed that forest camp at Tillongchong Island should be set up within one month and directed the Wildlife Department to take follow up action for delisting of Trochus niloticus with the Ministry of Environment and Forests for which the Lt. Governor has already requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests so that employment opportunities and income can be created for the local artisans of the A & N Islands. 

The LG also stressed on the protection and preservation of endemic species rather than enhancing punishment so that the local population of A&N Islands is not adversely affected.  He directed that the Forest, Tourism and Police Department should work in unison to ensure that rich forest and wildlife including marine resources are well protected. He also directed that the rich marine and forest cover should be shown to the outside world particularly the children in a pragmatic manner to expose them to wonders of the islands. 

It has also been approved to increase the loss of compensation of crocodile attack from rupees one lakh to rupees three lakhs by the Forest Department. The Lt. Governor further directed the Forest Department to take proactive steps to prevent such attacks and to instill sense of security among the people living in areas nearby creeks and visiting tourists at the beaches instead of scaring them by affixing boards of crocodile infected areas. People needs to be educated and not scared, directed the Lt. Governor. 

He also directed the authorities to display boards containing information regarding rare wildlife and endemic species at prominent places visited by tourists like Radhanagar beach etc. The board also approved the recommendation of providing rewards to the persons giving correct information about wildlife offences.

It was also approved to recommend to the National Wildlife Board to allow construction of road from 40.95 Kms to 43.45 Kms within Galathia National Park to beef up the security at Indira Point.

Concluding the meeting, the Lt. Governor stressed for protection and preservation of resources in a pragmatic manner and asked the department to use the satellite imageries for proactive action and directed to have two meetings of the board in a year.

The Chief Secretary, Adyaksha, Zilla Parishad (N&M), senior Forest & Police Officers, officers from defence establishment, officers from the Administration, Director, BNHS, Mumbai, Asst. Director ANET, Scientist of NIOT, Port Blair and SACON, Coimbatore were also present in the meeting.