Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the government has no plan to set up a tiger reserve in Wayanad.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with officials of various departments, representatives of local bodies and parties here on Friday, Mr. Chandy said rumours in this regard were baseless.

He said he had discussed the issue with Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan and she had confirmed that the Centre could not take any decision without a proposal from the State government.

A special task force on the lines of the Special Tiger Protection Force in Karnataka to tackle man-animal conflicts would be set up in the district, Mr. Chandy said, adding that the Karnataka government had offered assistance to train forest employees for the purpose.

Night traffic

He said the government would implead itself in a case relating to the ban on night traffic on the Karnataka part of the Kozhikode- Kollegal National Highway - 212, which comes under the core area of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, that was under the consideration of the Supreme Court. Former Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam would present the State’s case in the court.

The Chief Minister said the government was planning to augment the forest force in the State.

“The government cannot implement many recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil committee as it will adversely affect the public in many districts,” Mr. Chandy said, adding that the government had stated its stance before the Union government.

Speaking to leaders of an action committee at Naikkatty, after visiting three villages on the fringes of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary where a tiger had been posing threat to villagers, Mr. Chandy said search operations for the tiger would continue till the animal was caught.

He said the government had decided to withdraw all cases registered against those in connection with an agitation demanding capture of the animal. The government would explore all means to curb man-animal conflicts. The number of wild animals had increased in the sanctuary after the implementation of protection measures.

“The policy of the government was to protect the wildlife but it would not be at the cost of human lives,” the Chief Minister added.

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