Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 1 (PTI) The Congress-led UDF opposition on Wednesday flayed the Kerala government in the state assembly for its alleged lack of a proper plan to address the increasing incidents of man-animal conflict in areas bordered by forests in the state.
Sharply criticising the LDF government for waiting for a study report to decide on the further course of action, the opposition staged a walkout after its demand to adjourn the House and discuss the issue was rejected by Speaker A N Shamseer.
The adjournment motion was denied after Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran said that officials of his department were working day and night to deal with the wildlife attacks in human settlements close to the forests.
He also said that the government was taking steps to protect agriculture close to forested areas by culling thousands of wild boars, which were destroying farmlands.
The government will conduct a scientific study to find out ways to prevent man-wildlife conflict in the state.
He also submitted that more than 600 people have died in wild animal attacks in the state in the last five years.
Slamming the Left government for waiting for a scientific study to decide further course of action, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the state assembly V D Satheesan said that it indicates that the state administration has done nothing till now and has no plan or project to address the plight of those living close to forested areas.
Satheesan said that people, including farmers, residing in areas close to forests are living in constant fear for their lives and property as attacks by elephants, tigers and other wild animals were on a rise.
He said that there were not enough solar energy fences, which are being implemented in some villages in the Kannur and Idukki districts, and no other preventive measures, such as bio fencing, were being taken by the government.
The LoP and his UDF colleagues also contended, in the assembly, that the state government has not even compensated farmers who lost crops due to wild animal attacks and that it was about time it woke up to the issue of man-animal conflicts.
The LoP claimed that there were insurance policies for the same, but the state government has not even considered them.
"We are surprised and amazed at the stand taken by the government. We are objecting to it and in protest I and my party are walking out," said Satheesan.
Similarly, other Congress allies in the opposition UDF also staged a walkout.
Kerala has been witnessing an increase in threats from wild animals, especially elephants and tigers.
In the prevailing scenario, an all-party meeting was held in Idukki on Tuesday under the aegis of Forest and Water Resources ministers to discuss measures to deal with the issue.
The meeting was held in the wake of huge protests staged by locals seeking a permanent solution to prevent elephant herds from entering the area and wreaking havoc.
In the meeting it was decided to erect a 21-kilometer-long solar fencing around the inhabited areas, which face the wildlife attack the most.
In Wayanad district, a large number of villagers had on Tuesday taken out a protest march and laid siege to a busy road demanding immediate intervention of authorities to check the increasing threat posed by wild animals, especially tigers.
Around 15 domestic animals including goats had been reportedly killed by tigers, on the prowl in residential areas, in the last two months in Ponmudikotta there. PTI HMP ROH ROH