Kerala CM calls emergency meeting in Wayanad to address man-animal conflict

| Updated: 18 February, 2024 2:04 pm IST
Wayanad Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the council of ministers to hold a high-level meeting in Wayanad to address human-animal conflict

WAYANAD: On Sunday, CM Pinarayi Vijayan intervened in the escalating man-animal conflict in Wayanad, directing high-level ministers and bureaucrats to convene an urgent meeting to find solutions to the crisis.

In response to the intensifying protests by locals, especially farmers, and traders, CM Vijayan has instructed the Revenue, Forest, and Local Self Government Department (LSGD) ministers to lead a joint meeting in Wayanad district on February 20.

The meeting will include all stakeholders, including civic body councillors and senior officials, to devise immediate measures to mitigate the conflict, according to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).

ALSO READ: Kerala: Wayanad residents angered by delay in tracking wild animals near homes

The decision comes in the aftermath of protests that erupted following the death of an eco-tourism guide from the forest department in an elephant attack near Kuruva island.

The protests led to vehicular blockades along major routes connecting Karnataka and other parts of the state. Pulpally, the town where the forest department guide’s funeral took place, witnessed heightened tensions as demonstrators expressed frustration with the government and forest authorities.

In response to the mounting pressure, the Thamarassery Diocese announced plans to organise protests across all parishes under its jurisdiction, condemning the government’s inaction in addressing human-animal conflicts.

ALSO READ: Kerala: Uproar in Wayanad as wild elephant tramples man to death

Kalpatta MLA and senior Congress leader, Kalpatta MLA T Siddique, called for the resignation of Forest Minister AK Shasheendran, holding him accountable for the crisis. However, State Forest Minister A K Saseendran expressed condolences for the guide’s death and assured support for his family.

“Forest minister AK Shasheendran should quit the post immediately as he has utterly failed in his duties in interfering in the matter and finding any kind of solution”, Siddique told The New Indian.

Despite deploying Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), ‘kumki’ elephants, and thermal cameras, the forest department has yet to capture the elusive elephant responsible for the attacks.

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