Kerala govt local representatives of Wayanad ignored escalating man-animal conflict, says Bhupender Yadav

Wayanad: Yadav directs that payment of Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia be done by State Govt immediately and transparently

BY | Thursday, 22 February, 2024

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, on Thursday, accused the Kerala Government and local representatives of Wayanad and adjoining regions of ignoring the escalating man-animal conflict which he said had led to the loss of lives. Wayanad happens to be the constituency of Congress’ Rahul Gandhi.

Yadav had, on 21st and 22nd February, visited Wayanad and Bandipur National Park which is in Karnataka and Wayanad in Kerala with senior officers from the Ministry and Scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for a first-hand appraisal of the problem of human-wildlife conflict in the region.

Three people in Wayanad had recently lost their lives in wild animal encounters. While two were killed by elephants, one was killed in tiger attack.

Read more: Man-animal conflict can be resolved with vigilant use of tech, sympathizing approach: Bhupender Yadav

On Thursday, the Union Minister chaired a meeting in the Waynad District Collectorate, Kalpetta that was attended by officers or MoEFCC, WII, people’s representative and officials from concerned departments in Kerala. During the meeting, he provided the following information and urged the State to be prompt in its response so that lives can be saved and wildlife can flourish.

i. The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore which is now under the WII, will be developed as a Centre for handholding with states like Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu on mitigation of human wildlife conflicts.

ii. Inter-State Coordination: Considering the urgent need to have better cooperation, coordination, and collaboration on wildlife issues amongst all the Southern States, inter-State coordination meetings to be convened and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will facilitate inter-state coordination meetings.

iii. Capacity Building: MoEFCC to support capacity building of frontline staff and other frontline departments for use of early warning systems, use of modern technology and equipment and modern tracking systems.

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iv. Funding support: MoEFCC has sanctioned Rs 15.82 Crore during the Financial Year 2023-24 under various schemes to the State of Kerala. Based on the demand/ Annual Plan of Operations proposed by State Government, the Central Government will consider funding support under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and other schemes for site specific elephant proof walls and other mitigation measures.

v. Corridor Management Planning: The Central Government through Wildlife Institute of India, will assist in preparing corridor management plan in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

vi. Elephant Proof Fences: At site specific locations Elephant proof fences may be created. The State Government may request for funding support from Central Government under CAMPA and other schemes.

vii. Enhancing compensation and immediate payment: The Central Government has enhanced ex-gratia payment from Rs 5.0 Lakh to Rs 10.0 lakh on human causalities. The payment of ex-gratia has to be done by the State Government immediately and on a transparent manner. A suitable mechanism and protocol have to be developed by the State in a transparent manner.

viii. Regarding the permission for capturing, translocating or hunting of wild animals for mitigating human wildlife conflicts, the Union Minister informed that Section 11 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 empowers the State Chief Wildlife Warden of the State to take such actions required to manage human wildlife conflicts.

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