3-year-old died of snakebite, parents’ legal battle pave the way to clear thickets

Avrin was bitten by a snake at her mother Laya's house at Mala in Thrissur on March 24, 2021. Photo: Special Arrangement

Thrissur: Avrin was all of three years when she died. The little girl was bitten by a snake that had slithered out of the thickets at a nearby plot. She was the daughter of K I Binoy and Laya Jose.

The couple had to pay the price as a complaint lodged with the panchayat to clear the thickets failed to bring in any concrete action. Even while working abroad, they continued the legal battle for their daughter and it has finally yielded results.

The High Court has directed all panchayat secretaries to get the thickets cleared up if these grow to the extent of leading to complaints and that the expenses should be collected from the land owner.

Avrin was bitten by a snake at her mother Laya's house at Mala in Thrissur on March 24, 2021. Three years before this incident, Laya's father P D Jose and other residents in the locality had given the complaint to the panchayat, pointing out the snake menace and that the thickets in the nearby plot should be cleared. The panchayat’s action was limited to sending notice to the land owner.

Soon after she was bitten by the snake, Avrin was rushed to the taluk hospital in Kodungallur but there was no antivenom. By the time she was taken to the taluk hospital in Irinjalakuda, it was too late.

After their daughter’s death, her parents lodged complaints with the forest department and Collector. As Binoy and Laya were working in Italy, they gave the power of attorney to Jose to conduct the case.

Based on the complaint given to the forest department, the personnel finally arrived to inspect the site after 1.5 years. Meanwhile, the thickets were cleared on the instructions of the village officer and RDO. But as the thickets grew again after every spell of rainfall, the complainants approached the High Court.

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