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Lightning deaths in Odisha coax govt to plant Palm trees

In the last 11 years, 3,790 people have been killed by lightning strikes in Odisha. Ninety per cent of the victims are from the rural pockets of the state.

News Arena Network - Bhubaneswar - UPDATED: July 4, 2024, 04:25 AM - 3 mins read

Lightning deaths in Odisha coax govt to plant 19 lakh Palm trees

Lightning deaths in Odisha coax govt to plant Palm trees

Representational Image.


The Odisha government has announced a plan to plant nearly 19 lakh palm trees this fiscal year to protect its citizens from lightning strikes.

 

Authorities have asked people to obtain permission before cutting down a palm tree.

 

Principal chief conservator of forest, Debidutta Biswal, underscored the life-saving role of palm trees, stating: “As the tallest trees in their localities, palm trees act as excellent lightning arrestors, effectively arresting lightning and saving lives. The decision to plant these trees is a crucial step in reducing the number of lightning-related deaths.”

 

In the last 11 years, 3,790 people have been killed by lightning strikes in Odisha. Ninety per cent of the victims are from the rural pockets of the state.

 

Biswal said previously there was no barrier to cutting palm trees. “However, we have found that because of the lack of restrictions, there was a massive cutting of palm trees, leading to deforestation. Now, we want to regulate it. One should obtain permission from the forest department to cut a palm tree, even if they own it. The legal provision for cutting sal and teak trees will apply to palm trees. It will attract fines also.”

 

He said: “According to the plan, we will go for a massive palm tree plantation, and around 19 lakh trees will be planted. Around Rs 7.5 crore will be spent on this account. The Special Relief Commission (SRC) has given its nod to the proposal. Four palm trees will be planted on the premises of each forest block in the state.”

 

The state government has collaborated with the Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM), Pune, to obtain information about lightning strikes. “Based on the IITM Pune’s report, we released the data about the lightning strike in Odisha. The entire Odisha has been covered with the earth network system. Besides, IITM Pune has its own network.”

 

Odisha has also collaborated with the US-based Earth Networks to get early warnings for lightning.

 

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