Opposition walks out from assembly, demanding action on soaring human-animal conflict in Wayanad


PTI, Feb 12, 2024, 1:57 PM IST

The opposition Congress-led UDF on Monday staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly after the government refused to discuss the rising human-animal conflict in the hilly district of Wayanad where a 42-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant a few days ago.

Congress leader and Kalpetta MLA, T Siddique moved the notice seeking adjournment motion and said there was an unprecedented situation prevailing in the northern district where more and more wild animals were venturing into human settlements.

Forest Minister A K Saseendran said the government has decided to form an inter-state coordination committee to monitor the movement of wild animals across state borders.

He also informed the House about the various steps initiated by the government to reduce the issues related to various man-animal conflicts in the district.

Siddique alleged that the state government was the prime accused in the death of the 42-year-old man at Wayanad on Saturday.

He said the government machinery failed to prevent the tragedy despite getting information of the wild elephant roaming around the human habitat.

”The government is the prime accused. Despite getting information about the elephant, the government failed to warn the public,” Siddique charged.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan alleged that the government failed to protect the life and property of the people in Wayanad which has been witnessing a rise in man-animal conflict.

”In this case, we were unable to track the elephant. The Forest department lacks equipment to track the animals. The families dwelling near forest borders are living under constant threat. Their livelihood-farming is being affected,” Satheesan said.

The senior Congress leader said apart from the threat to life from wild elephants, tigers, wild bears and boars, these animals also affect the agriculture of the region.

”Many farmers are committing suicide due to the wildlife attack on agriculture. This issue is beyond politics, Satheesan said.

He also pointed out that compensation assured by the government for crop loss was yet to be distributed. The opposition staged a walkout after the Speaker A N Samseer refused to allow notice for an adjournment motion.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the constant man-animal conflict in Wayanad.

In a statement, the Chief Minister said all necessary steps to protect the life and property of the people will be taken.

”A panel comprising additional chief secretaries of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will be formed to coordinate and resolve the issues connected with the inter-state movement of wildlife,” the release said.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said a Command Control Centre will be formed comprising members of Revenue, Police and Forest Department.

”Two new Rapid Response Teams (RRT) will start functioning at Wayanad soon. The warning systems will be strengthened along with the introduction of a public address system,” Vijayan said.

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