ITANAGAR: Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Arunachal Pradesh has become the first in the Northeast to provide insurance cover against COVID-19 for its 'Green Soldiers'.
PTR's Divisional Forest Officer T Pali said that 57 frontline staffs of the Park have been insured for nine months against health issues due to infection by the Novel Coronavirus. The 'Wildlife Trust of India' (WTI), an NGO, paid the insurance amount with support from 'Foundation Serge'.
"The insurance coverage is of Rs 1 lakh each; but a few who would be retiring soon have been insured for Rs 50,000," said wildlife veterinarian Panjit Basumatary, who is in charge of the 'Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation' adjoining the 861.95 sq. km. of PTR.
WTI runs the Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation centre.
Basumatary said that the frontline staffs were crucial for conserving the forest and wildlife. "We will take every possible step to conserve nature through them," he added.
"India's frontline Forest staff work in the most challenging conditions with insufficient life or health cover; and for a remote location like Pakke, any illness or hospitalisation can prove ruinous," said Vivek Menon, wildlife conservationist and chief executive officer of WTI. He said that the NGO has been supporting India's frontline Forest staff with accident cover for the last 20 years.
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