PANAJI: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday informed the Legislative Assembly that the government was considering voluntary relocation of individuals or families living in and around the critical areas of wildlife sanctuaries in order to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Replying to a calling attention tabled by Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat and MLAs Vijai Sardesai, Jayesh Salgaonkar, Vinod Paliencar, Rohan Khaunte, Sudin Dhavalikar, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Pravin Zantye, the Chief Minister who also holds forest portfolio, said the forest department had formulated a scheme for immediate compensation to be given to the affected families for loss of human life and or cattle within three to four days of the wild animal attack and the process of granting compensation had been made simpler and less time consuming.
Sawant said monitoring of movement of wild animals had been intensified through increased patrolling and regular use of camera traps and construction of protection camp or watch tower at strategic points inside the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary was being planned.
He said rubble wall fencing along the boundary of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary specially in the critical areas of vulnerable villages was being constructed and creation of one more Forest Range for the sanctuary and three more beats or forest camps were planned.
The number of trekkers and other manpower inside the sanctuary and also other sanctuaries was being planned and villagers were being sanitised towards wildlife conservation as well as for taking suitable precautions, Sawant said, adding more and more fruit bearing plants and grass roots were being created inside the sanctuaries so as to increase the food resources to herbivores.
More water holes were being created inside wildlife sanctuaries to make available sufficient water for wild animals, he said and added that the government was fully committed to protect its wildlife animals as well as the people in dealing with human-animal conflict.
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''There are six wildlife sanctuaries and one national park spread through an area of 745 square km for conservation and management of wildlife in the State. There are many villages in and around the wildlife sanctuaries. Therefore, the human-wild animal conflict is a normal phenomenon. However, forest department is making all possible efforts to minimise the conflicts. Fruit bearing plants and grass plots are being created and more and more water holes are being created in forests or wildlife sanctuaries for the wild animals. The loss of cattle and crop damage by wildlife animals is being compensated through a compensation scheme,''Sawant said.
Stating that there had been increase in the movement of tiger in the forests of Goa, Sawant said recently, one tigress and three cubs were found dead near Golavli village adjoining Mhadei Widlife Sanctuary and it was suspected case of revenge killing through poising as tigers had killed few cattle of villagers.
''Five suspects were arrested who confessed of killing the tigers through poisoning. The samples of viscera and tissues have been collected and sent to forensic lab for verification. Missing nails, claws of one of the tigers, which were found missing have been recovered. Tiger population of Goa migrates between Goa and adjoining states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Forest Department Officials are in touch with their counterparts in Karnataka and Maharashtra to monitor the movement of tiger and protection,'' Sawant said.
The Chief Minister further said that talks were on to relocate three families living on the borders of the wildlife sanctuary near Thane in Poriem constituency.
Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai suggested that the investigations into the killing of tigers be handed over to CBI suspecting involvement of poaching gang or mining lobby in it and due to opposition to Tiger Reserve. Wild animals were sacrificed for someone's profiteering and criminal activities, he said adding that Tiger Reserve would also help to stop diversion of Mhadei water.
Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte sought to know the details of the findings by a two-member committed appointed by the MoEF to probe tiger killing in Goa. He requested the government to constitute Tiger Trask Force.
Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral, Deputy Speaker Isidore Fernandes and MLAs Sudin Dhavlikar, Reginald Lourenco and Prasad Gaonkar also spoke. They urged the government to take measures to stop man-animal conflict.