Leopard attacks: District Minister warns Forest officials of stringent action

T. Narasipur: In the wake of leopard attacks, which had  claimed four lives in a span of four months in T. Narasipur taluk alone, District Minister S.T. Somashekar has warned of stringent action against officials if they fail to check the recurrence of man-animal conflicts.

District Minister S.T. Somashekar, who spoke to media persons, after handing over the compensation cheque for Rs. 10 lakh to the parents of 11-year-old Jayanth of Horalahalli in T. Narasipur, who was killed in leopard attack on Jan.21 said, “Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has conducted a high-level meeting of officers and the Deputy Commissioner Dr. K. V. Rajendra has already issued directions to harvest sugarcane at the earliest, besides issuing shoot-at-sight order on killer leopards. As it is a sensitive issue involving animals and Forest Department, the Chief Minister has called for adequate measures in the interest of public. If the Forest Department officials are found lackadaisical in approach, the Chief Minister will take a serious look into it.”

 Dalit leader Algod Shivakumar vented his ire during the District Minister’s visit, blaming Forest Department officials for not responding to the woes of the general public and behaving irresponsibly. “Four persons have already lost their lives in leopard attacks in T. Narasipur taluk, but neither yourself (District Minister) nor Deputy Commissioner preferred to visit the spot. It is only after the public outrage, Deputy Commissioner visited recently,” he alleged.

 Had the Forest Department acted swiftly during leopard attacks on livestock, the fatal attacks on human beings could have been avoided. Moreover, it is incorrect to give compensation in different stages,  said Shivakumar.

Replying to Shivakumar, the District Minister said “Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will take a call on issuing compensation in a single shot. It is inappropriate to discuss about such issues when we have come to console the grieving family members. The Deputy Commissioner has drawn Chief Minister’s attention towards the deaths caused by leopards. I have also issued instructions to intensify  combing operation.”

T. Narasipur MLA M. Ashwin Kumar insisted on clearing the bushes at villages in the taluk and said that the Taluk Administration, Forest Department and Gram Panchayat should act in this regard. Even the public should clean their sites, as it is unfair to pass the buck on officers for all. Everybody has  responsibility towards addressing the issue, he added.

Following the complaint that Forest Department was still not acting on the compensation in relation to leopard claiming the life of a goat, MLA Ashwin Kumar directed Range Forest Officer Nadeem to take action at  the earliest.

Earlier, District Minister Somashekar called on the family members of Siddamma of Kannayakanahalli (who was killed by a leopard on Jan. 20) and issued a compensation cheque for                                                Rs. 13 lakh.

SP Seema Latkar,  Dy.SP Govindaraju, Tahsildar C.G. Geetha, Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer Krishna, former MLC C. Ramesh, District BJP President Mangala Somashekar, Taluk President K.C. Lokesh Nayak, Councillor S. K. Kiran, JD(S) Taluk President Chinnaswamy, BJP leader Samrat Sundareshan, Mugur  Shivamurthy, Kebbehundi Shivakumar, Kurbur Shivu, Jayapal Bharani, Rajanna, Shivakumar Baddu, Ukkalagere Kumar and President of Sosale Mahashakti Kendra Neragyathanahalli Puttaswamy and villagers were present during the District Minister’s visit.

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