Man- animal conflict: India

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Vijay Pinjarkar , Oct 1, 2019: The Times of India

Man-animal conflict in Maharashtra, 2014-2019
From: Vijay Pinjarkar , Oct 1, 2019: The Times of India

Even as finance and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has pushed for a major transformation of Chandrapur through projects, man-animal conflict and crop depredation by wild animals will be a major issue in constituencies falling in forest areas.

Between 2014 and July 31, 2019, there were 243 human deaths, over 1.7 lakh crop damage cases and 35,995 cattle kills. In Chandrapur district alone there were 124 human deaths, underscoring the enormity of the problem. Given the spurt in man-animal conflict, the government raised has human death compensation from Rs8 lakh in 2014 to Rs15 lakh now, and cattle kill compensation from Rs40,000 to Rs60,000.

“Opposition parties may raise the man-animal conflict issue in Chandrapur. With conflict flaring up, the forest department has taken a series of steps like using the Shayamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Yojana to benefit forested villages, following which human death cases have come down to 16 this year from 36 last year, crop damage cases to just 8,849 from 37,971 and cattle kills to 2,506 from 8,311,” says state wildlife board member Bandu Dhotre.

AAP candidate Paromita Goswami, who is contesting from the sensitive Brahmapuri seat, says, “I’ve been raising these issues for long and getting overwhelming support. I’m new to politics and I don’t know whether it would help me garner votes or not but I’m happy that these issues are being raised during electioneering. Neither BJP nor Congress raised these hard-core issues during their political yatras.”

Sitting Congress MLA from Brahmapuri did not respond to TOI’s calls.

“More than the man-tiger conflict, which is seasonal, crop depredation is a perennial issue. In Brahmapuri, wild boars have been raiding standing paddy crop, antagonizing farmers. Compensation is not expedited speedily. In Sindewahi, of 115 villages, 76 are forested with marginal farmers. People always express anguish during meetings. It will be a poll issue,” said Madhukar Madavi, president, Sindewahi panchayat samiti.

Pawan Nagre, founder of the NGO Zep, agrees with Madavi. Though there is a lull now, the damage to agriculturists over the last two years will cast a shadow on the campaign. In Yavatmal, where man-animal conflict was the worst last year after tigers claimed 13 villagers, farm activist Kishore Tiwari says, “Though people have been tolerant about tigers, their main concern will be crop damage. Forest boundaries overlapping with farms need to be fenced as per a recent GR. Villagers not harming tigers despite attacks need to be rewarded.”

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