Government is bound to pay compensation to farmers: Kerala High Court

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has held the state government is bound to compensate farmers who come under the attack of wild animals which stray into their farms causing crop loss.The Bench observed human life is precious and crops raised by farmers are valuable to them.When the farmers are attacked and crops are damaged by wild animals that stray into farms, it is incumbent on the state to take remedial action to prevent such straying of animals and suitably compensate the farmers, the order stated.

The court issued the order on the petitions filed by the agriculturists who own or occupy land in the close proximity of reserve forests in the state. According to them, wild animals stray into their farms and cause extensive damage to the crops.

They sought a directive to the state government to take urgent and effective steps to provide solar power fencing separating agricultural land and forest land, and thereby, protect the farmers and the agricultural land of the petitioners from the attack of wild animals. The state submitted it had erected solar power fencing covering 1,501 km and had also constructed elephant-proof trenches, covering 584 km.It stated stone-pitched trenches were constructed in 3.5 km and elephant-proof walls were constructed in 35 km.

Compound wall had been constructed in 259 km and bio-fencing constructed in 43 km. The government further said, in Kannur district alone, 112.506 km of solar fencing was set up and construction of 9.25 km of elephant proof wall was in progress.

The watchers are also engaged in driving back wild animals straying into human settlements. Rapid response teams have been formed at various locations, where man-animal conflict is an acute issue.
A committee was constituted to look into the issue of man-animal conflict and, on the basis of the recommendations of the committee, farmers have been permitted to hunt/shoot crop-raiding wild boar subject to certain conditions, the state submitted.

Article source: Legal News

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