CHANDIGARH: Short-term permits to shoot wild boars, which damage crops during the season, will no longer require a Panchayat resolution, following a decision taken by the Punjab government on Friday.
A meeting of the Punjab State Wildlife Board, chaired by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, decided to put the process online and on WhatsApp to ease the procedure of sanctioning the 45-day permits. These permits for limited hunting are confined to privately owned land and are meant only to shoot animals that damage crops.
The meeting also decided on various initiatives to promote ecological preservation, including creating a conservation reserve along 185 kms of the River Beas, starting from 52 head Talwara to Harike.
Selective fishing has also been allowed with the Punjab State Wildlife Board empowered to decide the fishing season instead of the Irrigation and Drainage Department, which oversaw the sector.
It has approved the implementation of bull sterilisation by the Animal Husbandry Department to keep the number of stray cattle in check.
Other conservation measures approved included creating Ranjit Sagar Dam Wildlife Sanctuary to promote eco-tourism, such as angling and river cruise for revenue generation. Allowing horse and camel safaris and eco trails were some ideas to boost eco-tourism. A proposal to ban commercial netting was also discussed.
The meeting discussed the low occupancy at forest and canal guest houses in the state and decided to hand the infrastructure over to the control of the Wildlife Development Corporation.
It was also decided to declare Ropar Wetland as a wildlife sanctuary/conservation reserve, an official spokesperson disclosed, adding that the meeting also gave in-principle approval to the release of Gharials (17 hatchlings ready at Chhatbir Zoo) into Satluj-Beas.
The meeting also approved a proposal to convert land belonging to Siswan village panchayat into a community reserve by declaring 3,199 acres as forest under the Land Preservation Act 1990.
The meeting was informed that 39 cameras in three days, across the strip of land, revealed it teeming with wildlife including leopard, sambar, barking deer, jungle cat, wild boar, civet cat, peafowl, etc.
Captain Amarinder Singh asked the Board members to explore what other states have been doing for ecosystem preservation and assess how those initiatives could be adapted to Punjab’s ecosystem.