Thrissur | A day after a 42-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Wayanad's Mananthavady, the Kerala government on Sunday decided to form an inter-state coordination committee to monitor the movement of wild animals across state borders.
State Forest Minister A K Saseendran, after an evaluation meeting held here, told the media that Wayanad district, which has been witnessing higher number of man-animal conflicts recently, will receive two more Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in addition to the one it has now.
"An inter-state coordination committee will be formed before February 15 which will discuss the further course of action. As of now, there are three forest divisions in Wayanad. A special cell for these three divisions will be formed and a nodal officer will coordinate the functions," Saseendran said.
He added that of the 500 beat forest officers from today's passing out parade, 170 will be posted in Wayanad.
The minister also informed that the elephant which trampled Payyampally resident Aji, was currently somewhere near the Kerala-Karnataka border.
He said the forest department officials have been directed to tranquilise the animal if it was found in a suitable place.
"As far as we understand there was a delay in receiving information from the Karnataka department regarding the movement of the elephant. We don't have the facility to receive information from the chip installed by Karnataka or Tamil Nadu. Hence, we have decided to form an inter-state coordination committee to avoid such instances," Saseendran said.
To control the man-animal conflict, which includes the venturing of wild animals into human habitat, amendments need to be made to the concerned Forest Act, which only the union government can do, the minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan on Sunday sought the resignation of the state Forest Minister.
He alleged that despite the presence of a radio collar, the Kerala Forest Department failed to warn the people about the venturing of the wild elephant.
Muraleedharan also attacked Wayanad MP and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and asked whether he was aware of the incidents in his constituency.
Aji's funeral will be held at his residence this evening. The Kerala government had on Saturday announced Rs 10 lakh compensation and assured a job to one of his family members.
A major protest broke out at Mananthavady over the death of Aji on Saturday, with the locals taking it to the streets.
However, after the announcement of various reliefs by the government, the agitators had ended their protest and handed over the body for post-mortem.
Saseendran had announced that the government will take care of the education of the two children of the deceased man.
Wayanad MP Gandhi had expressed shock at the "untimely demise" of Aji.
The CCTV visuals of the incident showed Aji and others trying to escape from the wild elephant and jumping into the compound of a house. However, the jumbo destroys the compound wall and chases the man.
Locals alleged that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border from Karnataka and reached Kuruvadweep locality near here early in the morning but the Forest department had failed to announce this and warn the people from venturing out.