Odisha Govt To Provide Insurance Cover For Snake Handlers

Bhubaneswar: There is good news for people engaged in snake handling in Odisha. The state government is all set to provide insurance cover for those undertaking the hazardous task of rescue and release of snakes.

This was stated by Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramila Mallik at Bhubaneswar on Monday.

The insurance premium for the snake handlers will be borne by the Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department of the state government, she said.

This apart, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) will present a proposal for imparting training to snake handlers and those engaged in rescue operations of the reptiles. The proposal will include details about the nature of training and funds required for the purpose. Thereafter, the training programme will be launched, the Minister said.

It may be noted here that the Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department last month issued a set of guidelines for rescue and release of snakes from areas inhabited by humans.

In this regard, letters have been issued to the Additional Special Relief Commissioner, PCCF of the Forest Department, PCCF of Wildlife Division, the Managing Director of OSDMA, all the RCCFs, Collectors and DFOs.

According to the new guidelines, only certified snake handlers can participate in the rescue and release operations and they are required to adhere strictly to the stipulated protocols, failing which will invite penal actions as per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The intervention to save snakes will only be undertaken in situations where their presence poses a risk to human life, such as when they are found indoors or in close proximity to human habitation. The snake rescue work should be confined to instances wherein the snakes have entered human dwellings, regardless of whether they are of venomous or non-venomous species.

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