Man-animal conflict major poll issue in Kendrapara

Kendrapara: Recurring man-animal conflict surfaced as a major issue in ongoing Panchayat poll campaigns in villages lying on the close proximity of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary in Kendrapara district.

While ‘bijli-sadak-pani’ are common demands in most parts of the state, people in specific pockets of coastal Kendrapara are asking whether there would be an end to their plight.

The candidates contesting right from ward member’s post to that of member of zilla parishad now are facing queries from people living on fringes of wildlife-inhabited forest and crocodile-infested water-bodies.

It seems human lives are less precious than animals.

While crocodiles are unleashing terror in water-bodies and creeks, wild boar are on the rampage launching murderous attack on people. Forest officials are intent on safeguarding the safety of animals. But they never care for humans , rued Pradeep Das of Iswarpur in Rajnagar Tehsil, going to polls.

He was echoed by many others who claimed that frequent intrusions of wild animals into places of human habitation have made life miserable in forest-side villages.

Each of the water-bodies here is crocodile-infested.

Venturing into river to take bath is like risking one s life.

Last year, crocodiles claimed three persons from our area , said Radhakant Sahu, a native of Dimiripala village under Aul block.

People have stopped fishing due to croc menace.

Inland fishing is a major occupation for fishermen. Forest department doles out ex-gratia for death (Rs 2 lakh) or injury (Rs 10,000) in croc attack. The loss is permanent. The paltry compensation is cruel joke on us,” a local of Deulsahi village, Rabindra Behera said.