JEYPORE: The practice of hunting wild animals by setting fire to forest areas during tribal festival Chaiti Parab has led to depletion of green cover in Koraput. As per tradition, Bhumiya, Rana, Bhotra, Kondha, Soura, Halwa, Pentia, Parja and Gadaba tribes of the district celebrate Chaiti Parab, a hunting festival, in April every year. The festival, which is mostly celebrated in Koraput, Laxmipur, Pottangi, Narayanpatna, Boipariguda, Kundra, Borrigumma and Jeypore, started a week back. Tribals and hunters go on a forest-burning spree to chase wild animals to the traps set up by them.
This practice of burning forests has caused major destruction of the green cover. As many as 45 forest chunks in both Jeypore and Koraput divisions has been engulfed in fire, evoking a strong resentment among environmentalists and wildlife protection groups. The Forest and Environment department has no plan to check it during tribal festival, they alleged.However, forest officials claimed that despite limited resources, the Range Officers along with forest guards and volunteers are keeping a vigil on forest fire incidents.
Over 3000 hectare of forest cover in Koraput region is ruined due to fire every year during April and May. The tribal festival and podu cultivation are the major reasons behind the increasing forest fire.
Wildlife lovers of Jeypore and Koraput on Monday also expressed concern over the issue while observing International Earth Day.