‘Deve Gowda never took elephant issue seriously’

Former Minister and Congress leader B. Shivaramu has alleged that former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who is representing Hassan in the Lok Sabha, never took the issue of elephant menace faced by people in the district seriously.

Neither Mr. Deve Gowda nor the Minister in-charge of the district H.D. Revanna bothered to meet the villagers, who staged a week-long protest at Ballupete in Sakleshpur, Mr. Shivaramu said at a press conference here on Thursday.

Since 2000, the Congress leader said, 63 people had been killed in elephant attacks and 221 people suffered injuries. There had been 31,528 incidents of elephants damaging agriculture crops.

“The elephant menace has crippled growth in the region, besides taking away lives of many people. However, the former Prime Minster who has represented the constituency for five times has not taken the issue seriously,” he alleged.

Meagre compensation

Successive governments paid a meagre compensation for the loss of lives or crops. Earlier, the family of the dead was paid a few thousand rupees. Over the years, the amount was increased to ₹2 lakh and in 2016 it was fixed at ₹5 lakh. “The department has paid a compensation of over ₹7.75 crore towards crop loss, while the actual loss was at least five times more”, he said.

The people in the region had been demanding permanent solutions to the problems. An elephant corridor, proposed in Sakleshpur, had remained on paper. “As much as ₹37,000 crore is with the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority. There is no shortage of funds to take up the corridor project or spend towards minimising the man-elephant conflict in the region,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 12:31:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/deve-gowda-never-took-elephant-issue-seriously/article25791461.ece

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