A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Additional Chief Secretary, General Administration to file within ten days a plan detailing immediate short-term steps that will be taken to prevent the straying of wild animals into human settlements in Wayanad district.
The Bench comprising Justice A. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Gopinath P. also ordered that the short-term plan should be the one that will be implemented within a month. This will be in addition to long-term measures suggested by the Committee of Experts (CoE) that will be implemented simultaneously in a phased manner.
The court passed the order at its special session held on Monday in the wake of the death of a person at Wayanad in an attack by a wild elephant.
The CoE appointed by the High Court to study human-elephant conflict had earlier suggested Identification and mapping human-wildlife conflict areas, including species involved, nature and intensity of conflict and seasonality. Its other suggestions included evolving ways and means to address the grievances of the people, preparing strategic action plan to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
The court noted that the CoE had not been receiving the required assistance from the State government. It was perhaps on account of this lethargy that we continue to witness such tragic incidents in the State. This sorry state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. The residents of those districts in this State that border forest areas cannot be made to live in perpetual fear of animal attacks on their person or property. Asking them to wait any longer for a reprieve through State action would tantamount to making a mockery of their fundamental right to life and livelihood. The court, therefore, issued the directive.
The Bench expressed hope that the governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would reflect upon its observations and arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement for cooperation in the matter of human-animal conflict resolution.