'Task force to check man-elephant conflict'

Heaping a praise on both the district administration and forest departments for capturing two wild elephants without using the bullets, the minister said this was for the first time jumbos had been caught without killing them that too in a city with a population of over 10 lakhs. 

The jumbos, that were spotted at a village near Bannur of T Narasipur taluk, entered the city on the early hours of Wednesday and created tension. The situation would have been worst had the police and forest authorities not swung into action immediately.

This saved further more damages to both property and life. It was an accident as nobody had dreamt that the wild pachyderms would come to the city of palaces, but the departments handled the situation and nabbed both the elephants before they could do more damage.

Vijayshankar said the government presented a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the relatives of Renukaswamy who was goaded to death by the wild jumbo, following directions from Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. The cheque was handed over by him personally to the family of victim. One of the sons of the deceased would be given a temporary job in the Department of Forest.

The government would also bear the medical expenses of five persons who were injured in the elephant attack and also compensation to those who lost their cattle as per prevailing market price. The compensation for others would be disbursed by Thursday evening.

Although catching the wild elephants is quite a tough job, Vijayshankar said the forest officers from Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Hassan worked in tandem in this operation.

They were on the ground zero within the shortest possible time and helped in nabbing the tusker that had already killed one person besides injuring four to five persons. The entire operation was executed systematically under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Harsh Gupta and Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal.

In the morning, the CM held a meeting of senior officials of the Department of Forest and took several steps to protect the wildlife which has become a victim of development.

The minister said the department would take a decision in two or three days regarding two wild elephants that were captured in the morning.  “I will discuss the issue with top brass of the department and then decide it”.

Vijayshankar said the forest mobile squads would be constituted in Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Chamarajanagar, Belgaum and Hassan districts where the instances of human-animal conflict are high.

The trained squad members will be given sophisticated weapons to act whenever the Mysore like situation comes up. The modalities will be made public within two or three days.

Giving a clean chit to his department staff for swiftly acting to the situation, the minister ruled out any departmental inquiry to probe any lapses, but said he would initiate action in case he come across any dereliction of duty of any staff member.

The centralised forest control has been set up in Bangalore and the people can call 080-234 67919 in case of emergency related to wild animals. This would further help the department to take action within the shortest time, he added.

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