Kerala declares human-animal conflict a State-Specific Disaster

Kerala tackles human-animal conflict with State Disaster Management Authority
Representative image
Representative image

Thiruvananthapuram | The recent fatal wildlife attacks on people in Kerala has prompted the state government to declare human-animal conflict a State-Specific Disaster, a move that will rope in the State Disaster Management Authority into activities at the district and local levels to address the issue.

The decision was taken on Wednesday at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here.

A statement released by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) announced that the State Disaster Management Authority would actively participate in mitigating human-animal conflict.

Four committees will be established, involving the chief minister and other ministers or consisting of officers, at the district and local levels.

The duties and functioning of these committees, including the state-level officer committee, will be set down after discussions with the chief secretary and the secretary of the forest department, the release said.

At the state level, a committee will be formed with the chief minister as the chairman. The ministers of forests, revenue, local self-government, and minister of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will be the members. The chief secretary will be its convenor.

This committee will make necessary recommendations at the state level, it said.

A state-level control committee will be constituted. It will be presided over by the chief secretary, and its members will include the secretaries of home, revenue, forest, local self-government, agriculture, and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes departments, in addition to the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and chief wildlife warden, as well as disaster management authority member secretary.

This committee will give instructions and orders at the state level.

A regulatory system will be established at the district level, with the minister in charge of the district heading it.

The district collector, superintendent of police, divisional forest officer, district medical officer, local self-government department deputy director, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes deputy director, district agriculture department officer, and district animal welfare department officer will be a part of this regulatory system.

All matters related to human-animal conflict in the district will be handled with the supervision of this committee.

Vigilance committees based on local self-government bodies exist in areas prone to human-wildlife conflict, and these committees will prepare and implement measures to prevent incidents at the local level.

They should also work as per the instructions of the district-level committee concerned. In emergency situations, this committee can take steps and seek the approval of the district committee, the release added.

The government announced measures to address the pressing issue of human-animal conflict amid escalating protests in regions around human settlements near state forests.

Encounters with wild animals have resulted in the loss of lives and property, prompting calls for more robust action to prevent such incidents.

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