KENDRAPARA: Forest dwellers of Bhitarkanika National Park in the district will be given liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to check deforestation.
Informing this, District Nodal Officer of PMUY Jitamrit Dutta said Bhitarkanika and its nearby areas are facing a serious deforestation problem as forest dwellers depend on the mangrove trees for fuel.
“As they cannot afford LPG, we sought the list of women forest dwellers from the Divisional Forest
Officer (DFO) and District Welfare Officer (DWO) to provide LPG connection to them,” Dutta said.
At present, 83,439 families have received LPG connections under PMUY in the district. On April 20, new connections will be given to 23 villages of 18 gram panchayats in the district.
“We have already completed the enrolment of over 3.56 crore customers in the country within 23 months of the launching of PMUY. The main aim of the project is to provide clean cooking fuel to BPL women and reducing the drudgery and hazards of biomass cooking,” he said.
In other parts of the State, forest dwellers were already given LPG under PMUY.
The promotion of LPG cooking gas in villages near the park will reduce the pressure on the India’s second largest mangrove forest, said DFO of Bhitarkanika Bimal Prasanna Acharya.“Several villagers within Bhitarkanika are forced to cook their food by using firewood or cow dung cakes as they cannot afford to pay exorbitant rate to get unsubsidised cooking gas.
Now, PMUY will save the forest, said Hemant Rout, an environmentalist and president of Marine Turtle and Mangrove Conservation Society (MTMCS).