Arikomban's radio collar expected to reach the state today: Minister

Arikomban (Photo - Reju Arnold/Manorama)
അരിക്കൊമ്പൻ. ഫോട്ടോ: റെജു അർനോൾഡ് ∙ മനോരമ

Rajakumari: Amidst raging concerns over the move to shift the rogue wild tusker Arikomban to Parambikulam forests, the Special Task Force constituted by the state is proceeding ahead with the preparations to dart the animal, which has been on a rampage at Chinnakanal.

Dr Arun Sakkariya, a veterinarian who leads the STF, is slated to reach Chinnakanal tomorrow and will hold a team meeting.

Forest Minister A K Saseendran said that the satellite radio collar to be fitted on the tusker was expected to reach today after receiving the permission of the Assam government. The State had earlier forwarded an application for the gadget through the Chief Wildlife Warden.

Meanwhile, the minister expressed concerns over the impact of a decision by the people to approach the High Court against shifting the elephant to Parambikulam. The mission will be executed as per directions issued by the court, he added.

Arikomban, along with a female elephant and two baby elephants, was found roaming near Cementpalam on Saturday.

Tusker shouldn’t be released in Parambikulam: Saneesh Kumar Joseph MLA

Meanwhile, the chieftains of various tribal settlements (Ooru Mooppanmar) on the forest fringes are slated to approach the High Court against the direction to release the elephant in Parambikulam. Those moving the petition are identified as Muthuswami, head of the Sungam Colony, and Sundarakutty, head of the Earthdam Colony.

A decision in this regard was arrived at a meeting of lawyers from the Nenmara assembly constituency, convened by K Babu MLA. A petition will be moved under the aegis of an all-party committee as well.

The MLA, meanwhile, is also exploring the options of moving a petition in his own capacity in the absence of any legal hurdles. A team has been deputed to function from Kochi in this regard.

The meeting also decided to demand the State Government to file a review petition against the High Court order. Plans are also afoot by various panchayats and farmer collectives to implead in the case.

Meanwhile, the Forest Minister has maintained that the Forest department had no other option but to proceed in line with the High Court’s order. The shifting operation could be halted only in case of receiving a stay on the order. The forest department had originally planned to shift the tusker to the elephant training camp.

Plan for massive public protest against the elephant’s release

Protests are also brewing across the settlements along the Chalakudy region, which lies adjacent to the Parambikulam forests. Saneesh Kumar Joseph MLA has already come out in the open against the decision to release Arikomban in Parambikulam, stating that the move will be countered stiffly by building massive public resistance.

According to the MLA, the expert committee submitted its report to the High Court without analyzing the actual situation on the ground. He also sent letters to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Forest Minister A K Saseendran seeking steps to bring the issues faced by the tribal and other settlements in the region, which reel under recurring wild-life attacks.

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