Short-term permits for shooting crop-damaging animals like wild boar and roz will no longer require panchayat resolutions, the Punjab government said today. The state government has also approved sterilisation of bulls by animal husbandry department to control the menace of stray cattle in line with the practice being followed in some other states, an official spokesman said. A meeting of Punjab State Wildlife Board chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to simplify the procedure for sanctioning 45-day permits for shooting these crop-damaging animals, he said. It was also decided to put the permit process online and on WhatsApp platform to ensure ease of procedure for grant of permits, he said. "These permits for limited hunting are confined to privately owned land and are meant only for crop-damaging animals," the spokesman said. The meeting also decided on various initiatives to promote ecological preservation, including creation of a conservation reserve along 185 kms of River Beas. The Punjab State Wildlife Board has also been empowered to decide on fishing seasons as against the earlier practice of fishing being a part of the irrigation and drainage department's domain. Other conservation measures approved at the meeting include creation of Ranjit Sagar Dam Wildlife Sanctuary to promote eco-tourism, such as angling and river cruise, the spokesman said. A proposal to ban commercial netting was also discussed, he said. The meeting also gave in-principle approval to release of 'Gharials' or fish-eating crocodiles (17 hatchlings of which are ready at Chhatbir Zoo) into Sutlej-Beas, he said. The state government also approved a proposal to convert Siswan village panchayat land into a community reserve by declaring 3,199 acres of land as forest area under the Land Preservation Act 1990, the spokesman added.
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