Tribal communities in Odisha’s protected forests better placed in keeping virus at bay -Satyasundar Barik

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published Published on Jul 19, 2020   modified Modified on Jul 20, 2020

-The Hindu

Their interaction with outsiders is less as Nature gives them abundant nutritious food in the shape of leafy vegetables, roots, tuber as well as fungi.

BHUBANESWAR: With many States resorting to lockdown measures to break the chain of infections in the wake of the spiralling COVID-19 positive cases, tribal communities in Odisha’s protected forests seem to be better placed to keep the virus at bay during the monsoon season.

Most national parks and reserves have shut their doors for visitors with the onset of the monsoon season. While the government justifies the closure of protected forests stating that the roads turn non-motorable, conservationists say the decision is based on sound scientific logic as the forests and wildlife need time to rejuvenate.

Blessing in disguise

It has, however, come as blessing in disguise for the forest communities.

“While the tribal hinterland has so far largely been untouched by the pandemic, seclusion of aboriginal communities in protected forests for the next four months would help them stay away from the infection,” said Hemanta Sahoo, a senior researcher who works with Vasundhara, a city-based voluntary organisation.

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The Hindu, 19 July, 2020,

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