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Cong leader Satheesan visits bereaved family of man trampled by elephant in Kerala's Wayanad

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Wayanad, Feb 12 (PTI) Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, V D Satheesan, on Monday visited the family of Aji who was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Wayanad's Mananthavady two days ago.

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Satheesan, who met the bereaved family in the evening, consoled them.

Speaking to the media here, Satheesan hit out at the Left government and said the people of the hilly regions are worried due to the frequent attacks by wild elephants.

"Last year, 85 people lost their lives in nine months due to wild animal attacks. From 2016, 909 people lost their lives in such a manner. It is now not possible to cultivate anything in the regions near forest areas. The people are concerned about their future," Satheesan said.

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He asked the government to shed apathy and take the necessary action.

"The government is yet to disburse the compensation announced for over 7,000 people who were either injured or have a family member killed in wild animal attacks. The government has allocated only Rs 48 crore for resolving the man-animal conflict in the state budget," Satheesan said.

He claimed that the Kerala Forest Department lacks equipment to track the elephants in the wild.

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"The Karnataka government had handed over the user ID and password to locate the elephant (that killed Aji) through radio collar on January 5 itself. There was a delay on behalf of the Kerala Forest Department in decoding the radio collar signal," Satheesan alleged.

Aji's daughter, Alna, said no one else should face a similar fate as that of her father.

"No other child should ever cry like I cried," Alna said, urging the authorities to take necessary action.

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Meanwhile, the forest department has yet to capture the wild elephant which is fitted with a radio collar by the Karnataka forest department.

Kerala forest department officials said the jumbo was moving fast and they were yet to locate it in a suitable place to tranquilise it.

Farmers Relief Forum, an organisation in Wayanad has called for a hartal in the district on Tuesday. The Congress has extended its support for it.

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Aji was laid to rest on February 10 in the presence of hundreds who went to pay their last respects.

The Kerala government on Sunday announced the constitution of an inter-state coordination committee to monitor the movement of wild animals across state borders considering the increase in man-animal conflict in the region.

The state government had on Saturday announced Rs 10 lakh compensation and assured a job to one of Aji's family members.

The CCTV visuals of the incident showed Aji and others trying to escape from the wild elephant and jumping into the compound of a house. However, the jumbo destroys the compound wall and chases the man.

Locals alleged that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border from Karnataka and reached Kuruvadweep locality near here early in the morning, but the Forest department had failed to announce this and warn the people from venturing out. PTI RRT RRT KH

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