BHUBANESWAR: The Forest and Environment Department on Saturday decided to enhance ex gratia for human casualty caused by wild animal attacks to Rs four lakh. A proposal in this regard will be placed before the State Government shortly.
Currently, kin of victims of wild animal attacks are entitled to `three lakh as compensation. Those attacked by tiger, leopard, elephant, crocodile, bear and wild boar are only eligible for the ex gratia.
However, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department sanctions ` four lakh as ex gratia in case of snake bite deaths.
Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray, who chaired a meeting of senior officials of the department and 24 Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) of the State here, felt that there should be uniformity in the ex gratia compensation.The meeting also discussed the existing norms for grant of compensation in case of human deaths, injuries, crop and house damage. It was unanimously agreed that the procedures should be simplified to weed out discontentment among the people who face depredation.
"Compensation sanction order is issued only after receiving multiple documents and inquiry reports from different agencies and the amount is transferred to the DFO's account. The department is planning to create a common pool where the ex gratia will be deposited before being transferred directly to the beneficiary account," sources said.
The meeting also felt that there should be a reward system in place for informers who help the department seize illegal timber and wildlife articles. Under the current system, sale proceeds of timber and evaluation of wildlife articles determine the reward but it comprises a long drawn-out legal process which discourages informers. The officers agreed that a reward structure must be devised irrespective of the evaluation of the illegal goods.
Routray also expressed concern over the electrocution deaths and ordered that a report on all cases of sagging of electricity lines must be furnished within seven days so that he can take up the matter with the Energy Department.
The death of three elephants in Dhenkanal had triggered strong reactions as the CESU officials had failed to rectify sagging of lines in Borapada reserve forest despite intimation by the DFO three months ago. Even the line was left charged by the discom officials.