Saturday, September 30, 2023

Snakes help in maintaining the biodiversity balance

Himalayan Paths

Noamundi, March 21 : Tata Steel at Noamundi organised a unique programme �Snakes are Friends� on the occasion of �World Forestry Day�.

The programme was celebrated at Noamundi on Tuesday amidst all stakeholders. The theme of the World Forestry Day this year was �Forests & Energy� and Tata Steel laid special emphasis on the significance of forests and snakes and how the forests are getting impacted due to increasing energy requirements.

Geeta Koda, MLA from Jagannathpur was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Addressing the gathering, Ms Koda said, �The subject chosen by Tata Steel for the World Forestry Day is very interesting. New species of snakes are being discovered everyday and we need to understand the benefits we get from snakes.�

Subhendu Mallick, General Secretary and Founder of Snake Helpline, who is also honorary Wildlife Warden of Khurda district talked about various myths related to snakes and reaching out to hospitals in case of snake bite.

Vipul Sharma, Program Officer of IUCN explained the story behind celebration of World Forestry Day. Anand Bihari, Noamundi Forest Ranger congratulated Tata Steel for organizing such programmes and brining all stakeholders together.
NK Singh and Asgar Imam, snake catchers from Jamshedpur reiterated the fact that most snakes are harmless to humans.

Pankaj Satija, General Manager (Ore Mines & Quarries), Tata Steel said, �Snakes are our friends as they help in maintaining the biodiversity balance. This is our small contribution towards the National Biodiversity Target, which says that by 2020, measures are adopted for sustainable management of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. These kinds of programmes will create awareness and will eventually lead to effective and equitable conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem.�

School children were engaged through drawing competition and cultural programmes based on the theme �Snakes are Friends�. A skit by artists from �HO� mahasabha and Kalbelia folk dance from Rajasthan were the main attractions of the day. The traditional occupation of Kalbelias is catching snakes and trading snake venom.

Since the enactment of the Wildlife Act of 1972, the Kalbelias have been pushed out of their traditional profession of snake handling and performing arts are a major source of income for them today. The Kalbelias shared their experiences with the audience. Stalls were also put up by Vaidya`s (traditional village healers) to showcase the use of traditional medicines in curing diseases and stalls to promote tribal cuisine of Jharkhand.

General awareness sessions on environment and forests were also organized at Khondbond and a cultural evening of Kalbelia dance performance at Joda. Tata Steel at Noamundi has been organizing many such programmes like Prajatya Khadyotsav, Spot the Species, Jaiba Kala Vividhtha and the like to sensitise people about biodiversity.

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