The Odisha government has decided to resort to the traditional practice of planting palm trees on both sides of roads, farm lands and forest boundaries as a measure to check casualties due to lightning strikes.
In a letter to forest officials, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests D Swain said palm trees are good lightning conductors.
He asked the regional chief conservators and divisional forest officers to undertake a massive plantation drive across the state, which, on an average, witnesses 400 lightning fatalities every year.
The traditional practice of palm plantation, discontinued due to urbanization and development, could be the answer to the natural disaster, the letter said.
The trees also have wide range of uses- its fruits are eaten, stem used as wood and leaves for thatching, baskets, mats and others.
"Lightning usually hits the tallest object first. This palm tree, which is tallest, will work as lightning conductor, decreasing the death toll," the letter explained.
Palm trees also protest coastal areas from storm and cyclones, while their roots can protect embankments against soil erosion, it added.
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