Forest dept conquers concrete with green anti-poaching unit

Eco-friendly materials used in construction of building for personnel

Forest dept conquers concrete with green anti-poaching unit

At a time when forests are turning concrete jungles literally, the Forest department has set an example by constructing an eco-friendly anti-poaching unit at Avarepura in the Moleyur forest range of the district.

Aptly named ‘Aranyaka,’ the unit comprises a portico, hall, kitchen and bathroom and costs Rs 8.8 lakh. It’s a first-of-its-kind in Indian forests, Shamsundar, director of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) of the National Institute of Engineering told Deccan Herald. It took just five months for the building to take shape, he said.

The structure is a joint venture of the Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mumbai and Tiger Conservation Foundation, Bandipur and is designed by CREST and Voice for Wildlife Trust, Mysore. It has replaced the earlier tile-roofed building at the same spot.

From the soil to the bricks, all the construction materials used are from within the forest, in keeping with the concept of ’forest to forest’. A total of 5,000 stabilised mud blocks were manufactured using the soil at the Range Forest Office site nearby, mixed with sand and nine per cent cement. Unlike normal clay blocks, these blocks are not burnt, but baked to perfection through the natural method, exposing them to the sun for 21 days. 

Another advantage is that the blocks do not require plastering. “The occupants will get thermal cover,” Shamsundar said.

Professionally, the unit motivates the occupants (personnel of anti-poaching unit) to heighten vigilance with natural indoor lighting.

The building is also equipped with rainwater harvesting facility with a capacity of 40,000 litres and a storage capacity of 9,000 litres. A thaijar above the ground level, with a capacity of 4,000 litres of water, is another eco-friendly feature. Eight solar-powered LED lamps have been installed, besides a biomass cooker and stoves to boil water for bathing.

The elephant prevention trench, dug around the unit, protects it from jumbo attacks. The trench is 15-foot deep and 10-foot wide, claims Shamsundar. A wooden log across the trench is the only way to enter the unit.

Additional principal chief conservator of forests B J Hosamath and secretary of NIE management committee N Ramanuja will dedicate the unit on Thursday.

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