Elephant attack: Forest Minister not fit for post, he must go, says VD Satheesan

Opposition leader VD Satheesan. File Photo: Manorama
Opposition leader VD Satheesan. File Photo: Manorama

Kasaragod: Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan called for the resignation of Minister for Forest and Wildlife A K Saseendran after another life was lost to an elephant attack in Wayanad on Saturday, February 10.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of Congress's Samaragni people's protest yatra in Kasaragod, Satheesan said the minister was not eligible to sit in the post. "He should exit. He should resign," the Congress leader said.

The budget is mum on the man-animal conflict that affects the lives and crops of 30 lakh people living on the fringes of forests, he said.

On Saturday, a wild elephant radio-collared by the Karnataka Forest Department trampled 42-year-old Panachiyil Ajeesh to death at Padamala near Mananthavady in Wayanad district.

"This elephant was in Kerala for the past three days but the man lost his life because of the failure of the department to track the animal," Satheesan said.

To be sure, Northern Zone Chief Wildlife Warden K S Deepa said Kerala's Forest Department did not have the right gadget to receive signals from the collar used by Karnataka Forest Department.

The Leader of the Opposition said the department was not moving a little finger to save lives. "Humans are being thrown in front of wild animals," he said.

In the past 10 years, 52 people lost their lives to wild animal attacks in Wayanad district. Of them, 42 people were killed by elephants and seven by tigers.

Last day Sulthan Bathery MLA I C Balakrishnan informed the Assembly that five tigers were on the prowl in his constituency. "The Forest Minister mocked the MLA... When the issue is raised in the Assembly, the government gives mechanical answers," he said.

The government has not released compensation to the families of victims of wild animal attacks for the past six to seven months, said Satheesan. "The government has closed its eyes, ears, and heart to the plight of the people. There is not even a discussion on introducing a scheme to save the people," he said.

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