Panaji: Stating that there is a lot of process involved in declaring any animal as vermin and his department has initiated the process to collect data of animals that have been damaging agricultural crops and could be identified as vermin, Minister for Forests Rajendra Arlekar on Friday said in the state assembly that the Union government may consider granting permission to declare wild boar and monkeys in the state as vermin for specific area and specific period.
The House was divided over the issue of declaring wild boar and monkey as a vermin, after a private member resolution was moved by leader of the opposition Pratapsing Rane along with two other legislators.
Arlekar said that the government has taken notice of the issue of agricultural crops being damaged by wild animals mostly in talukas like Bicholim, Pernem, Sanguem and Sattari and that his department is in the process of identifying the animals. He said that the data being collected by the forest officials would come before the Goa State Wildlife Board before sending the report to the Union Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
“The team of the central ministry will come to Goa to find out the facts about the wild animals that have become a nuisance for agriculturists in various parts of the state. They may decide if the animals could be declared as vermin area-specific and period-specific,” Arlekar said.
Stating that this situation has arisen in the state due to a conflict between humans and animals, he said that efforts are being made by the government to keep these wild animals restricted to the forest areas by undertaking some measures like power fencing and planning to release the animals back in forests after they are trapped in cages.
Calangute MLA Micheal Lobo said that it would not be right to declare any animal as vermin, as people could take advantage and kill these animals. Thivim MLA Kiran Kandolkar argued that monkeys have religious significance. Hence, the government should not declare them as vermin. Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral said that monkeys have been witnessed in cities too. However, the government has to take a decision in this regard, he said.
Sanguem MLA Subhash Faldesai strongly demanded that wild boar and monkeys be declared as vermin as they have been damaging coconut and sugarcane plantations in his constituency. Ponda MLA Lavu Mamledar suggested that the government make provision for protection of agricultural crops from damage by wild animals.[NT]