Rs. 200 crore sought to mitigate human-animal conflict: Khandre
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Rs. 200 crore sought to mitigate human-animal conflict: Khandre

January 28, 2024

Nanjangud: Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre has assured that significant steps are being taken to address the persistent issue of human-animal conflict permanently. Adequate funds have been allocated for installing rail barricades to mitigate the elephant menace in the villages surrounding the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

Speaking at a meeting with villagers to discuss the man-animal conflict recently, Minister Khandre emphasised the importance of these measures. He disclosed that an Elephant Task Force has already been formed and efforts are underway to identify vulnerable spots for the construction of rail barricades.

Currently, rail barricades spanning 312 kms have been completed and plans are in place to extend this coverage by an additional 120 kms. He revealed that a request has been made to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to allocate Rs. 200 crore in the upcoming budget to support these initiatives.

Highlighting the ecological significance of Bandipur Forest, Minister Khandre mentioned that the Elephant Task Force, which plays a crucial role in mitigating conflicts, will be further strengthened. Additional facilities, including more vehicles, will be sanctioned to enhance the capabilities of the task force in dealing with the complex challenges posed by human-animal conflicts in the region.

In response to farmers’ demands for compensation in cases of crop loss caused by wild animals such as deer, wild boar, peacock and others, Khandre stated that he is aware of the issue. He expressed his intention to draft a proposal to the Finance Department, suggesting that rather than providing compensation to farmers on the forest fringes, the Finance Department should bear the losses.

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He assured that he would bring this matter to the attention of the Chief Minister for further consideration. Additionally, Khandre directed Forest Officers to exercise patience and understanding when dealing with the general public in matters related to wildlife and crop loss.

Earlier, Minister Khandre visited the family of Ratnamma in Ballurhundi, who was recently killed in a tiger attack. He instructed the officers to provide temporary employment to Ratnamma’s dependents and ensure they receive pension benefits.

The meeting was attended by MLAs Darshan Dhruvanarayan and H.M. Ganesh Prasad, former MLA Kalale Keshavamurthy, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Subhash K. Malkhede, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Ramesh Kumar, Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Paramesh and others.

Allotment of forest, revenue lands to farmers after survey

Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre has given assurance to farmers that he will initiate measures to distribute forest lands cultivated before 1978 under the Right to Forest Act. This comes in response to the farmers’ demand for land allocation after conducting a joint survey.

Farmers cultivating the land for the past 50 years without any certificate of grant have faced challenges in receiving compensation, often citing the reason of ‘forest land’ mentioned in Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) records.

Khandre stated that a joint survey will be conducted by the Forest Department and Revenue Department. Subsequently, measures will be implemented to issue a certificate of grant for revenue lands by identifying the forest borders.

The Minister emphasised that steps will be taken to distribute lands belonging to the Forest Department that have been cultivated before 1978 under the Right to Forest Act. This move aims to address the concerns of farmers who have long been cultivating these lands without proper documentation.

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