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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Blue bulls feed, farmers bleed in MP

Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, July 11, 2013
First Published: 11:25 IST(11/7/2013) | Last Updated: 11:29 IST(11/7/2013)

Farmers facing largescale destruction of crops by wild boar and blue bull are being given ‘innovative’ reasons for rejection of their applications for permission to shoot these animals, which is allowed under law in Madhya Pradesh.

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On the other hand, the farmers are paying heavy price with no relief from raiding animals.

Sub- divisional magistrate (SDM), Jaora in Ratlam district, KC Jain, said it is not possible to identify the animal that destroyed the crop and would also be wrong to allow an innocent animal to be shot -- clearly an alibi for not granting the license as the rules have no provision for this interpretation.

Defending the rejection of applications, the Jaora SDM told HT: “It is not possible to identify the animal which destroyed the crop and, hence, should be shot. The applications have been rejected.”

The MP government allows farmers to obtain licenses to kill wild boar and blue bull that raid and destroy their crops -- with restrictions like shooting these animals only on revenue land and 5kms from a sanctuary or national park.

When asked that the rules in any case do not provide for a specific animal to be shot and provide for a general time barred license to protect crops from certain animal species, Jain said he had given his verdict and if anyone was aggrieved they could appeal in a higher court.

Jaora MLA Mahendra Singh Kalukheda, whose application demanding license to shoot animals that destroy crops was rejected, said, “It seems personal biases are coming in the way of granting licenses.”

The blue bull menace, he said, has acquired serious proportions all over the state, which is evident by the large number of questions on the matter filed by MLAs across the state.

“The blue bull belongs to the antelope family and has nothing do with cow. People mistake it for the bovine family and become protective about it. These animals also feed on opium and become very dangerous after that,” Kalukheda said, adding that the state needs come up with a system to protect farmers.

The Jaora MLA said forest minister Sartaj Singh announced in the state assembly many times that rules exist under revenue laws to give permission to shoot animals that destroy crops. But permissions are not being given anywhere, he added.

Kalukheda applied for permission on October 10, 2012 and no decision was taken on his application till June 24.

A state government that swears to be committed to farmer welfare sat on the application for a period that covered sowing of two kharif crops and one rabi crop before it decided to reject the application.

In the assembly, Kalukheda sought to know the reason behind the delay in granting permission.

To this, he was told that the “matter is being looked into and a time frame for the same cannot be given”.


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