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Man-animal conflict incidents on decrease in north Kashmir, says officials

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SOPORE, JAN 2: Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, who escaped death on November two last year in a bear attack at Tujjar Sharief village on the outskirts of Sopore, is so scared that he is not coming out of his house alone. He remains confined to a corner of his house and seldom goes out but another family member has to accompany him, his family members said.
Malik and three women were grazing cattle in nearby forest area when a black bear attacked them on November 2, 2017. Malik suffered multiple injuries as the wild animal attacked him across his nose and eyes damaging his face. He was treated at to Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura for months together.
Man-Animal conflict according to officials is very old in Jammu and Kashmir but people seldom reported the attacks earlier.
In 2016, human-wildlife conflict claimed 8 lives in parts of North Kashmir, and 45 people were injured by animals. In 2017, according to the Wildlife Protection Department, Sopore, 9 people were injured and death of a girl was reported from Uri, Baramulla.
Earlier in the year 2014-2015 the figure of dead and injured was much higher than the current data. An official data procured by Kashmir Wire from Wildlife Department Sopore revealed that decrease in man-animal conflict in 2016 and 2017, thanks to awareness programmes and precautionary measures initiated by the department about man-animal conflict through print and electronic media, Mohammad Sadiq Mir, Wildlife Warden North Kashmir, Sopore said .
“The graph of man-animal conflict is going down for the last 2-3 years. Appearances of black bear have increased but attacks on humans have decreased. Deaths too have reduced in last few years as compared to earlier years. Even attacks have decreased but that doesn’t mean there is no conflict. Human beings intrude into the forest areas and the wild animals in search of food visit the human habitations. It is where the conflict arises,” Wildlife Warden North Kashmir told Kashmir Wire.
Mohammad Sadiq believes that the shrinking of buffer zones, a space between forest and human habitation is the main cause of man- animal conflict.
He said that 15 years back there was a vast space between forest area and the human habitation. With the increase of population, people started encroaching forest areas; the buffer zone squeezed which in turn increased the man -animal conflict. However, an increase in the population of black bear is seen a main cause in the man- animal conflict, he added.
According to him outside protective areas (wild life sanctuaries, nurseries) such episodes happen very less because animals have enough feed. “You can see only one per cent attacks.
These man- animal conflict stories mostly arise from non protected areas. In unprotected areas, they don’t find feed, so they visit villages and towns, orchards and there only happens man- animal conflict,” he said.
Officials in the department said that with a change in agriculture practices, the increase of man- animal conflict is evident. “Earlier we used to cultivate maize, wheat but nowadays we have turned our agriculture fields into orchards. That’s also a reason to man- animal conflict. From one orchard to another, the wild animal crosses villages and reaches towns and when it fears for its life, the wild animal attacks the humans,” the official said.
Asked if there is any dearth of equipments or manpower in the department, Mohammad Sadiq said that the department has state –of- the- art equipments available with them and control rooms at divisional and District levels which has also decreased the number of causalities and injuries of human lives.
“Whenever we get call, our men equipped with guns and tranquilizers reach to the area in rescue vans. We have special tranquilized guns, trained staff, we have special cages. So there is no such case of problem from our side. The concept of funds is very minuscule in our department. We don’t need funds but yes dearth of manpower is there. We engage local people whenever we need them for rescue purposes. We have to deal such incidents despite lack of staff,” Wildlife warden added.
In 2006 state government approved compensation with regard to man -animal conflict. Human lives lost in man- animal conflict are now being compensated by the government with a sum of Rs. three lakhs, up to Rs.1 lakh for grievous injuries and Rs.10,000 for minor injuries. Wildlife warden said that compensation has also made it easy for the department to check the man animal conflict, as people now report such incidents for seeking compensation.


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Mehbooba welcomes Pak PM’s call to Modi:’Dialogue only way forward to resolve issues’

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Srinagar, May 26: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, saying dialogue is the only way forward to resolve issues between the two countries.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Khan had called up Modi to congratulate him on his re-election.

“Welcome step. For what it’s worth, dialogue is the only way forward to resolve longstanding issues between India & Pak,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.

 

In their first telephonic conversation after the Balakot air strike, Modi told Khan that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in the region, the MEA said.

Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of their peoples, the Foreign Office said here. Khan’s telephone call to Modi came days after the cricketer-turned-politician congratulated on Twitter the Indian Prime Minister on his massive electoral victory in the general elections.

Prime Minister Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a landmark victory for a second five-year term in office, winning 302 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that Khan also congratulated Modi on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

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Rasheed seeks rehabilitation of shopkeepers at Manchi Krand in Uri

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Uri, May 26: AIP President Er. Rasheed today visited various villages of Uri to take stock of day to day issues of masses and interacted with many deputations.

Er. Rasheed along with party office bearers Mir Khursheeed, Mohd. Rafiq Bhat, Abdul Qudoos and Mohammad Imran also visited Salamabad to offer his condolences to the family of Haji Atta Mohammad whose two members died in a tragic traffic accident at Gharkote Uri.

On the occasion, Er. Rasheed was told that inadequate width of the roads is the main reason of frequent accidents taking place in the hilly areas. He appealed authorities to ensure widening of all important roads connecting remote villages with Uri and Bonyar towns.

 

Er. Rasheed visited Manchi Krand where six shops were gutted in a fire incident few days back. While seeking rehabilitation of the shopkeepers Er. Rasheed talked to Deputy Commissioner Baramulla who assured him of providing ex-gratia to the victims without delay.

Er. Rasheed also urged administration to take care of depilated roads and sought deployment of adequate staff in various Primary health centers, sub-centers and schools.

 Er. Rasheed thanked people of Uri for their massive support to AIP in the recently concluded parliament elections and assured masses that AIP will continue to speak for the rights and aspirations of people of entire state and will emerge as a strong and sustainable alternative to those political parties who have ruled the state but given nothing back to masses except sufferings and hardships.

Er. Rasheed also had an interaction with youth hailing from minority Hindu community at Bandi Manchikrand and assured them of all sorts of help to highlight their genuine issues.

While thanking the entire minority community in the area for voting AIP despite negative propaganda by various political parties, Er. Rasheed hailed minority community in Uri for not migrating to Jammu or some other place and for preferring to live and die with their Muslim brothers.

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Range officer among four forest officials suspended in Doda

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Bhadarwah, May 26 Four forest officials, including a range officer, were placed under suspension on Sunday as authorities seized five sawmills in a special drive in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, officials said.

However, some owners alleged that their sawmills were non-functional for years and instead of cracking a whip against forest mafia, the forest officials “staged this drama to hide their infighting”.

Range officer of Neeru in Bhadarwah Forest Division, Javid Abdullah Dev along with incharge block officers Liaqat Ali Khan, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din and Jahangir Iqbal Najar were placed under suspension by principal chief conservator forest, the officials said.

 

They said the suspension followed preliminary inquiry into the illicit felling of trees in various compartments of Neeru range over the past couple of months.

On May 22, seven forest officials including DFO Bhadarwah and Range Officer Chiralla were suspended for illegal activities, including illegal felling of trees and encroachments in Chiralla forest range .

Earlier during the day, the officials said, sleuths of Territorial Forest Department (TFD), Forest Protection Force (FPF) and Police led by Conservator Forest (CF) chenab circle, B Mohan Dass and DFO Doda Alok Moria raided six premises at Gatha, Udrana, Chakka and Sartingal villages in Doda district and seized five sawmills.

“After receiving a specific information about the functioning of sawmills illegally in the peripheral areas of Bhadarwah town, we initiated a drive and seized five sawmills,” Moria told reporters.

He said the operation went smoothly without much resistance from any of the sawmill owners except at the premises of one Harish Kotwal at Udrana.

“We were threatened of dire consequences at Kotwal’s house in presence of senior officers from police and civil administration. We have taken the cognizance and action as per law will be initiated soon, ” Moria said.

The sawmill owners, however, denied any wrong-doing.

“Adhering to court orders, my sawmill is nonfunctional and locked since years, but to my utter surprise, the officials raided my premises and the rusted wheel was seized,” Sheikh Mohd Ayaz, resident of Gatha, claimed.

He said the officials were seizing nonfunctional sawmills, which indicates “they are either settling scores with their fellow colleagues or befooling higher-ups.”

Mohammad Ramzan Batt, another sawmill owner and sarpanch of Udrama, said he has no problem with the seizure because his mill was nonfunctional from the past three years.

“I think all this drama is being staged to justify the suspension of DFO Bhadarwah,” Batt alleged.

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