Livestock loss compensation delay hurts Chenchus in Telangana

Even hens raised by the Chenchus are not spared by leopards during the nighttime.
Livestock loss compensation delay hurts Chenchus in Telangana

HYDERABAD: Tigers and other carnivores preying on cattle is a natural occurrence that has taken place for millions of years. Recognising this, policies are in place to compensate tribals and other forest dwellers for the loss of their cattle in such isolated incidents. However, Chenchus residing within the core forest area of the Nallamala forest, which falls under the Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR), have raised concerns over the delayed compensation for genuine petitions while outsiders grazing their cattle in the forest are swiftly compensated.

T Mallikarjun, aged 23, a resident of Pullaipally Penta, a Chenchu hamlet with only around eight families, lost his cow to a leopard on June 21, 2021. The forest beat officer conducted an inspection of the incident on June 26, with the carcass still present. Despite providing pictures of the tiger feeding on his cow and official authorisation for a loss of Rs 32,000, Mallikarjun is yet to receive compensation.Similar incidents have occurred where tigers have killed bulls, buffaloes, or calves. Even hens raised by the Chenchus are not spared by leopards during the nighttime.

T Guruvaiah, a resident of Appapur Penta, said that victims residing in the buffer zone of the forest, with access to transportation and road networks, have an advantage as they can approach the relevant officials and seek support from politicians more easily. However, Chenchus living deep inside the forest find it challenging to travel to nearby towns frequently, leading to delays in processing their compensation claims.

Compensation for victims is provided through the Tiger Conservation Fund, which the Centre allocates to states as part of the Tiger Project. Since 2021, there has been a cap of Rs 25,000 per animal under the project.

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