Kerala told to protect life and property of forest dwellers

KOCHI: The state government should take appropriate measures at the earliest to protect life and property of citizens living near forest areas, the high court has ordered. A scientific study should be conducted as the rules regarding the same were framed in 1950, the court said.

Justice PV Asha issued the order after considering a petition filed by Jimmy G Dominic of MM Paramba in Kozhikode, who was into farm tourism in Agambadam village, Nilambur in Malappuram.

In the petition, it was demanded that a study should be conducted regarding wild animal attacks on life and property of citizens. The compensation for crop loss was limited to Rs 50,000 as per Kerala Rules for Payment of Compensation to Victims of Attack by Wild Animals, 1980. It was recently enhanced to Rs 75,000 but was inadequate, it said.

“This court is also of the view that the government has to take appropriate steps to conduct a scientific study…and protect the inhabitants near the forest areas as well as the forest wealth and wildlife,” the court said.

Responding to the case, the state government had taken the strange contention that farmers should themselves take protective measures as the government cannot take up the responsibility. The government’s contention was recorded by the court in its judgment. The judgment said, “In the counter affidavit, it has been stated that the state cannot be made liable for natural calamities including wild life attacks. It is submitted that check dams were built in Nilamur north division in 2011-2012 and such constructions are going on for the purpose of protecting the cultivation near the forest area…It is also stated that the forest department have constructed trenches and walls around most of the tribal colonies.”

Article source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kerala-told-to-protect-life-and-property-of-forest-dwellers/articleshow/48704439.cms

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