West Bengal Forest department has taken to constructing toilets for the people living in forests and adjoining areas
Kolkata, May 15 : To reduce conflict between human and wild animals in the more forested regions of the state, the West Bengal Forest department has taken up an elaborate scheme to construct toilets for the people living in forests and adjoining areas.
After conducting a thorough research, the Forest department officials have found that in many cases villagers died after being attacked by elephants and other animals while entering the forest for open defecation.
In forests and its adjoining areas, the practice of open defecation leaves people vulnerable to attacks by wild animals.
To check human-animal conflict in these areas, therefore, the state Forest department has decided to construct toilets in every household situated in the vicinity of forests in the different sub-divisions.
The scheme would be implemented throughout the state in various phases.
The construction of toilets is underway in various sub-divisions of the districts of North Bengal. The project has already been completed in the Baikunthapur forest division in North Bengal under which around 350 households situated at the forest area have had toilets constructed in their homes.
The Forest department has a plan to set up toilets in every house-hold in the other forest ranges as well in the near future. The Forest department has constructed 350 toilets in the houses of the villagers living in the Baikunthapur range and this will help in reducing the incidents of human-animal conflict. There is plan to set up toilets for villagers residing in other forest ranges through various phases as the project requires a huge fund.
The people living in the forest areas cannot avoid confronting various wild animals when they go for open defecation. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the department chalked out an elaborate plan to solve the issue, so that forest-dwellers would no longer need to enter the forest for this purpose.
To make the programme successful and to ensure that all the people living in the forest and adjoining areas can be covered under its ambit, the state Forest department has urged the district administration and various panchayat functionaries in the districts having forest areas, to come forward and help the department to complete the project smoothly. In October 2014, the state government had launched Mission Nirmal Bangla, under which various sanitation projects were taken up at different levels.
Mission Nirmal Bangla was a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had laid emphasis on the cleanliness drive. The state government had also set up a target for various departments to achieve cleanliness and sanitation by forming an administrative mechanism for the same