Kerala CM stresses role of tribals in forest protection

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Thrissur, May 12 (UNI) The protection of forest areas can be ensured only with the support of those who depend on forests for their livelihood, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said today.

Inaugurating the 'Forest Protection Meet' here, the Chief Minister said ''this relevant fact was in mind while drafting the Forest Policy in 1988.'' He said the policy had helped considerably in reducing deforestation and killing of wild animals.

About 1.75 lakh hectares of forest area was being protected by 598 forest protection council, and among the 66,000 council members, 22,000 were tribals, he said.

As part of the afforestation policy, the government had declared 3,200 hectares of forest area as a sanctuary and the 'Silent Valley' natural forest area as buffer zone.

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