Union Minister dismisses Kerala govt's calls for Wildlife Protection Act amendment

Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav meets the family of Ajeesh Joseph, who was killed in an elephant attack, in Wayanad. Photo: PTI

Wayanad: Close on the heels of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi MP who had recently visited the bereaving families of wild animal attack victims in Wayanad, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav also ensured a two-day visit to the agrarian district where people are up in arms against the CPM led LDF government of the state for its lethargy in ensuring the protection of the people.

Talking to reporters here, he revealed that the Chief Wildlife Warden of each state holds the power to issue an order asking to either capture or kill a problem animal. Dismissing the Kerala government's call for bringing an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act, he noted that no central laws are against this Chief Wildlife Warden's power.

Referring to the claims of the state government that it is high time the forest laws were amended to ensure the safety of human beings and a proposal would be submitted for the same to the centre, the union minister said that there is no need for amending any of the existing forest laws.

Bhupendra Yadav consoled the families of the three men who were killed in wild animal attacks in the district during his two-day visit to the state. He also assured all possible assistance from the central government to the bereaved families. He also said that the central government is already giving a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to victims killed in wild animal attacks.

Addressing the media after holding talks with the officials at the Collectorate on Thursday, Bhupendra Yadav said that the lives of wild animals and human beings are equally important.

"It is high time that the inter-state coordination should be more effective to sort out such issues of animal movement across forest borders", he pointed out. Yadav also said that so far the central government had handed over Rs 15.8 Crore to the Kerala government.

Yadav kickstarted his visit on Wednesday which concluded on Thursday. He was accompanied by a host of prominent BJP leaders of the district.

Interestingly, the visit came the very next day after the BJP Karnataka state committee criticised the Karnataka government for declaring a solatium of Rs 15 lakh to the family of Panachiyil Ajeesh of Chaligadha, Wayanad, who was killed by Belur Makhna, a problem elephant translocated by Karnataka forest department after capturing and radio-collaring it. The BJP leaders had alleged that it was an attempt to ensure political mileage to Rahul Gandhi MP at the cost of taxpayers of Karnataka.

However, with the election to the parliament drawing near, all political camps are keen to tap the maximum potential of situations to bag political mileage.

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