Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday addressed the 'Nijukti Parba' programme for the newly recruited Odisha Civil Services officers at the State Convention Centre, Lok Seva Bhawan.
Odisha has registered 259 human casualities in the last two years due to man-elephant conflict. In fact, the majority of human deaths in attacks by wild animals is reportedly due to man-elephant conflict, which has assumed alarming proportions over the years.
The Minister of Revenue and Disaster Management Sudam Marndi informed this in the state assembly in a written reply stating that 259 people died in the incidence of elephant attacks from 2021-22 to 2022-23.
The human toll due to crocodile attacks has been 11 in the last two years. No human fatality was recorded in the past two years due to tiger attacks in the state.
The Odisha government has increased the ex gratia amount for death due to conflict with wild animals from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh from May 2023, the Minister said.
The compensatory sum has been enhanced in the wake of reports of people getting killed almost on a daily basis in human-wildlife conflict and property, crops worth crores of rupees damaged across the State. Demand was being raised from several quarters urging the government to take steps towards mitigation of human-wildlife conflict and to enhance the compensation amount for death, injuries, damage to crops or property.
Besides increasing the compensation for death, the government raised the compensation for permanent incapacitation to Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh depending on the extent of incapacitation.
In the event of 60 per cent incapacitation, the victim is now entitled to Rs 1.5 lakh while it has been raised to Rs 2.5 lakh for people suffering from a grievous injury of more than 60 per cent. Besides, the government enhanced compensatory allowance for victims suffering from minor injury or damage to crops or property in human-wildlife conflict.
Odisha, with 1,970 jumbos and home to 70 per cent of the total elephant population in eastern India, has been witnessing deteriorating human-elephant conflict with elephant depredation spreading to 26 out of 30 districts of the state.
The wild animals wander in villages in search of food due to shrinking habitat. The protected parks and wildlife sanctuaries, conferred habitation corridors of the elephants, face the onslaught of massive encroachment from people who live and forage, or graze cattle in the forests. The human interference of this nature is giving rise to frequent man-pachyderm confrontation.