Special officer to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad 

Published - February 15, 2024 08:21 pm IST

The Hindu Bureau 

A meeting of people’s representatives in Wayanad, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has decided to appoint a special officer in the rank of a Chief Conservator of forest in the district to mitigate the accelerating human-wildlife conflict in the district.  

The human-wildlife conflict has been escalating considerably and this was the time to think about a solution on how to tackle the issue without harm to the public, Mr. Vijayan said. 

The meeting also reviewed the decisions taken by an online meeting of top-level officials of the Forest department in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu recently. Mr. Vijayan directed to convene such meetings regularly.

The command control centre of the officials of Revenue, Forest and Police departments should be strengthened and a war room should be set up with the officials of the three departments, Mr. Vijayan said adding that a coordination committee would also be set up with the full support, of civic body members. 

The Chief Minister also directed the strengthening of the rapid response teams and utilise modern systems like community radio, wireless systems and WhatsApp groups to alert the public on the presence of wildlife in human habitats.  

All steps have been taken to disburse a sum of ₹11.5 crore as compensation to the kin of the deceased and those who sustained injuries in wildlife attacks. Permissions were granted to procure wireless sets and drones, Mr. Vijayan added.

The functioning of the special team constituted for monitoring the wildlife on the fringes of the forest should be strengthened.  The feasibility of the new fencing methods would be set up on an experimental basis to keep the wildlife at bay.

The Chief Secretary was directed to discuss utilising the services of MGNREGA workers to clear the undergrowth in private plantations with the Karnataka and Central governments. 

The District Collectors should direct the plantation owners to clear the undergrowths in their plantations. Wildlife managers should adopt steps to improve fodder availability for wildlife in forests.

The Forest department should execute a project to wipe out the senna spectacles plants inside the forest as a part of improving wildlife habitats. 

The feasibility of imposing a tax on vehicles entering protected areas would be looked into. District Collectors should decide at once how to handle wildlife entering into a human habitat for which the officials could use their power, the Chief Minister said. 

Priority should be given to protecting the life of the public.  Restoration works of trenches and fencing on forest fringes should be completed quickly and a people’s committee with ward members should be constituted to watch the movements of wildlife where the fencing works have been completed, the Chief Minister added. 

Steps should be adopted to control the population of monkeys, Mr. Vijayan added. Collectors should take action against the private resorts functioning on forest fringes for wooing wildlife to their resorts and DJ parties in those resorts should be restricted. 

Night patrolling should be intensified on the fringes of forest and afforestation projects should executed on fallow lands of protected areas with the assistance of MGNREGA workers, the Chief Minister said. 

Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran, Revenue Minister K. Rajan, MLAs I.C. Balakrishnan, O.R. Kelu and T. Siddique, Additional Chief Secretary (Forest) K.R. Jyothilal, and senior officials of various departments attended the meeting.

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