Saturday, August 24, 2013

'Death of wild animals on farmlands responsibility of forest officers, not farmers'

'Death of wild animals on farmlands responsibility of forest officers, not farmers'
The Indian Express

It is a case of the survival of man versus animal in Junagadh and Amreli districts, where farmers, struggling for their life and livelihood have launched an indefinite agitation.

Protesting under the aegis of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), the farmers have submitted memoranda demanding compensation to mamlatdars on Thursday.

"Our fist demand is for the release of three persons who are in jail in connection with electrocution of a lion in Moti Monpari village in Visavadar taluka. We also demand that farmers be paid compensation for damage to their crops caused by wild animals," Vitthal Dudhatra, joint secretary of Gujarat BKS, said.

In Junagadh district, the farmers submitted memoranda to mamlatdars of Una, Bhesan and Visavadar. Memorandum was also submitted to mamlatdar of Talala taluka, which is now part of the newly-created Gir Somnath district. Their counterparts in Amreli, Lathi, Bagasara, Dhari, rajula, Jafrabad and Khambha talukas of Amreli district also submitted memoranda to their respective mamlatdars.

The BKS leader said that farmers would submit memoranda to mamlatdars everyday until they get a positive response. "If we don't get a positive response , we would intensify the agitation," he said.

"Forest officers should keep lions and leopards within the forest. If the big cats come out and die on a farmer's land, forest officers, and not farmers, should be held responsible," Dudhatra, who joined the farmers in protests at Visavadar, said.

BKS and farmers have long been demanding the release of six farmers of Moti Monpari village who were arrested for the death of a lion on August 6. While three of them have been released on bail, three were still in jail.

The agitators have also demanded that farmers should be paid compensation amount at market prices of their cattle killed by wild animals. The BKS has announced to hold a farmers' sammelan in Dhari in this regard on Tuesday.

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