In his second meeting with a union minister this week, Patiala member of Parliament (MP) Dr Dharamvira Gandhi met minister of state (independent charge) for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar to raise the issue of constructing fences along the boundaries of wildlife sanctuaries in the district.
At the meeting, Dr Gandhi sought Rs. 30 crore from the central government for building permanent fences along the boundaries of reserved forest areas to restrict the entry of animals into agriculture fields.
On June 30, he met union minister for railway Sadanand Gowda to highlight the poor railway connectivity in Malwa region and proposed a new Shatabdi route.
Dr Gandhi informed the environment minister that Patiala division had six out of the 11 wildlife sanctuaries of the state with five of them falling under the jurisdiction of the Patiala constituency, covering over 90,000 sq m.
The problem of unfenced wildlife sanctuaries has supposedly turned into a nightmare for the villagers living along these reserves as animals entered their fields and destroyed crops every season.
“Despite repeated proposals to the state government by the departments concerned, the cash-strapped Punjab government has failed to sanction the amount. That is why the meeting with union minister was scheduled to get this issue resolved,” said the MP.
Saying that the problem resulted in huge financial losses, unending terror and human miseries in the affected villages, the MP said, “The government should provide immediate funds for proper fencing of forests and wildlife reserves for purposes of preservation and augmentation of forests, wildlife and the safety of crops and people’s livelihood,” he said.
The farmers of about 10 villages including Khera Jattan, Ramgarh, Sular, Rawas Brahmanian, Dulanpur, Sonair Heri officials for the past six years to build fences, but to no avail.
Every year, nearly 500 acres of land is plundered by animals including blue bulls (Nilgai), black buck, chital, wild boars, monkeys, jackals, and dogs.
As a temporary measure, farmers have built small huts along the boundaries of their fields to keep wild animals away.