Conflict within BJP over human-animal conflict and Vermin

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 18 March 2016 19:19 IST

Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar tackled seniormost veteran politician like opposition leader Pratapsing Rane very well, but could not hold his own party men who were fighting over the issue of declaring certain animals as vermin.

Convinced with Arlekar’s elaborate explanation, Rane withdrew his resolution to declare wild boar and monkeys (khetim) as vermin.

While Sanguem MLA Subhash Phaldesai and Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral strongly supported Rane’s resolution, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo and Tivim MLA Kiran Kandolkar had a different view altogether.

Lobo, representing the tourist belt, felt declaring wild boar vermin would lead to more wild board getting killed and its meat coming to the restaurants.

Kandolkar, another saffron legislator, however felt that killing monkeys would hurt religious sentiments of the people, who look at the monkey as God.

Deputy Speaker Vishnu Wagh, yet another BJP legislator who was chairing the session at that time, said the argument could also lead to somebody objecting to the wild boar because Varah, a wild boar, is one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Arlekar however sounded quite scientific in his approach, stating that the human-animal conflict is on the rise since humans have encroached into animal kingdoms while we have also failed in protecting forests.

Stating that declaring any animal a vermin is a lengthy process followed by the central government, he listed out steps taken by the state government in this regard.

1. Grow trees in the forest which these animals like,

2. Erect power fencing by blocking the whole forest,

3. Catch animals coming to human settlements and leave them back to the forest and

4. Use sound machines to chase away the animals back to the forest.

The forest minister also informed the House that his department has started collecting data of animals in Sattari, Bicholim, Sanguem and Pedne talukas.

Earlier, Rane told the House how wild boars were eating the roots of the plants of flowers, which he exports to Delhi and Bangalore.

Phaldesai said monkeys are destroying coconuts, wild boars are destroying sugarcane and bison are destroying paddy fields and cashew plantation.

While both the MLAs from Sattari and Sanguem said farmers are fed up of this animal menace, Cabral said monkeys have now also entered small towns like Curchorem. 

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