Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav accuses Kerala government of ‘ignoring’ human-animal conflicts in Wayanad

He said Union government remains committed to doing everything it takes to protect human lives and maintain ecological balance.


Published Feb 21, 2024 | 5:31 PMUpdatedFeb 21, 2024 | 5:31 PM

Bhupender Yadav

Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Wednesday, 21 February accused the Kerala government and local representatives of “ignoring” the escalating human-animal conflict in Wayanad district.

He said he would review the situation and meet the affected people. Wayanad is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency.

Also Read: Human-drawn boundaries won’t resolve human-animal conflicts: Kerala HC

Accuses state government, MP of inaction

“On my way to Wayanad with a team of experts from @MOEFCC and @wii_india to review the man-animal conflict situation in the region. We stand by the families that have lost their loved ones. Will ensure relief reaches them at the earliest,” Yadav posted on X.

After reviewing recent incidents of human-animal conflict at Pulpally in Wayanad district with senior ministry officials in Delhi, Yadav said on Tuesday that the Union government remains committed to doing everything it takes to protect human lives and maintain ecological balance.

Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Yadav said: “The state government and MPs should be working on the issue. The Union government has been releasing funds, and advisories (to address human-animal conflicts). We believe that while we should be sympathetic towards animals, we should be vigilantly using technology (to prevent such incidents). The Union government has repeatedly emphasised this in its advisories to states.”

“We have given them (state authorities) radio collars for elephants. I will review the situation to ascertain if there are any shortcomings in the vigilance/administrative areas. I will also meet (the families of) victims and review the status of compensation from the Union government,” he said.

Related: Kerala govt assures slew of measures including more RRTs

The issue

Yadav’s visit comes after Gandhi met with the family members of a forest department watcher who was fatally trampled by a wild elephant in Wayanad.

The BJP’s Kerala unit has raised concerns about wild animals damaging crops and causing harm to life and property. The party has accused Gandhi of neglecting such occurrences.

On Tuesday, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) withdrew from an all-party meeting organised by the government in the southern state to tackle the issue.

The meeting was prompted by the deaths of two men in elephant attacks in the last two weeks, leading to growing public frustration over such incidents.

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