Chidambaram MLA seeks Rs. 3 lakh compensation for the victim’s family

Chidambaram constituency MLA K. Balakrishnan has appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to sanction a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to the family of Jothirajan (56), a farmer, who was killed by a crocodile at Perampattu on Sunday.

Unaware of the lurking danger, Jothirajan went to the Old Kollidam at Perampattu to wash the farm implements on Sunday morning. Suddenly a crocodile surfaced from the river, grabbed him at his hip and pulled him into the water.

When Jothirajan raised an alarm, people in the vicinity jumped into the river to save him.

They threw stones at the crocodile and also thrashed it with logs.

After a great deal of struggle, the crocodile let free Jothirajan and disappeared into the water.

However, Jothirajan, even before being rescued, had already suffered grievous injuries in the neck, hip and hands succumbed. Only his limp body was retrieved from the river. The body was taken to the hospital for post-mortem. Chidambaram police have booked a case.

After consoling the bereaved family at Perampattu, Mr. Balakrishnan told reporters that it was customary for the government to give a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to the families of those who were trampled to death by wild elephants. This should be applied to the families of victims of crocodile attacks.

A menace now

The crocodile menace had acquired serious proportions along the banks of the Kollidam and Old Kollidam, posing threat to the lives of people and cattle. As such it called for a permanent solution to save the people from further crocodile attacks, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

S. Ravichandran, a local resident told TheHindu that the residents of as many as 25 villages, including Perampattu, Keezhkundalapadi, Melakundalapadi and Nandimangalam, located on the banks of the Kollidam, were constantly living in fear of crocodiles whose movement could hardly be traced.

In the past five years, at least 20 persons in the region became the target of crocodile attacks and of them five died and the rest were incapacitated.

The crocodiles often used to make forays into human habitations to prey on the goats, cattle heads and fowls such as ducks and chicken.

Another resident, K. Shiva Shanmugam said that whenever a crocodile strayed into a dwelling place, on information the forest department personnel would go to the place, capture the reptile and release it in the Vakkaramari lake, located about 10 km from Chidambaram.

The officials resorted to such measure for twin purpose: to keep the reptiles away from humans and to safeguard the water source (that supplies drinking water to Chidambaram town) from getting polluted.

However, whenever the lake was overflowing during rainy season crocodiles would be forcibly displaced by the gushing water.

Therefore, the people living on either side of the banks of the river were living in constant fear, Mr. Shanmugam said.

Crocodile farm

It has been the demand of the local people that setting up of a crocodile farm either at Neyveli or at Vallampadugai would offer a permanent solution to the menace as the crocodiles that might be captured along the course of the river could be kept in safe enclosures so that they would not creep into residential areas.

Only when such an arrangement is put in place, the residents would breathe easy and their cattle heads could be safeguarded, the affected villagers said.

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