Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that if the Forest Department had captured the tiger immediately after it killed a man in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve area in H.D. Kote taluk, two lives could have been saved.

“The vigorous operation to capture the tiger, which was conducted after the third man was killed, should have been taken up after the first death itself. This would have saved two lives. Such incidents should not recur,” he told Forest officials here on Sunday.

Presiding over a meeting of top district officials at the Government Guesthouse, Mr. Siddaramaiah warned the Forest officials of strict action if such incidents recurred.

In his response, Bandipur Tiger Reserve Director H.C. Kantharaj said the tiger went 15 km inside the forest after the first and second attacks. It came to the forest fringes only after the third attack as it had sustained injuries from porcupine quills. The operation was stepped up using 75 Forest staff and tamed elephants, resulting in the tiger’s capture, he said.

Referring to the straying of wild elephants to the outskirts of Mysore, the Chief Minister asked, “What were the Forest authorities doing when the elephants came so close to the city.”

Forest authorities said scarcity of fodder in forest due to bamboo flowering and encroachment of elephant corridor were among the reasons for the elephants to stray out of forest. Moreover, the density of elephants and tigers in the Bandipur forest had gone up due to conservation measures. “There are about 100 tigers and 1,800 elephants in the Bandipur forest,” Mr. Kantharaj said.

He said a proposal had been sent to the government for using unused or abandoned rails to fence forest borders so as to prevent elephants from venturing into human habitations. The cost for putting up such fence was around Rs. 52 lakh for a km. The Bandipur forest had 147-km-long boundary while the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve had 47-km-long boundary, he explained. He said the Railways had been requested to provide unused rails at low cost.

Land for hospital

Mr. Siddaramaiah asked Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha to identify land for setting up a super-speciality hospital in Mysore.

He said Rs. 100-crore special grant had been sanctioned for development works in the city.

Police Commissioner M.A. Saleem, Mysore Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer P.G. Gopal and Deputy Director of Information A.R. Prakash were among those present.

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