Kodagu MLA Seeks Permission to Kill Wild Elephants!
Madikeri: Kombarana Ganapati Bopaiah, sitting MLA from Virajpet and former speaker of the state assembly, often gets into headlines and sometimes in the eye of a storm.
The most turbulent time in his political career was his controversial ruling disqualifying 11 MLAs of his own party (BJP) after they sent a letter to the state governor, informing him of their withdrawal of support to the then-chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, in October 2011.
The government survived because of his step. His decision was upheld by the state high court.
But when the disqualified MLAs went on appeal, the supreme court nullified Bopaiah’s order, while also passing strictures over the hurry he showed ahead of a trust vote in the assembly.
During the past two years, he has had a stand-off with Vartika Katiyar, a young and bold woman IPS officer who served as the superintendent of police in Kodagu until recently.
All efforts were made to get her transferred but the government stayed put. It was only after her having gone on leave just before the Tipu Jayanti trouble broke out in Madikeri a few months ago was considered as a lapse while in duty that she was shifted to Bengaluru as SP, Intelligence.
Now Bopaiah appears to have stirred a hornet’s nest again, in a different matter, though. The wild elephant menace has been steadily on the rise in the district in the past years.
In reality, the root cause is massive deforestation. The man-elephant conflict is on full show as jumbos have been marching into the human habitat.
Bopaiah insists that the menace is beyond control and the only way left is to kill them. Until now, they have been on the rampage in agricultural growth areas. Now they are in direct conflict with the humans, according to him.
The pachyderms descending from the forests in search of food have destroyed hundreds of farms and estates and many humans too have been killed or maimed.
Bopaiah has taken this matter quite seriously and made a desperate appeal to the state government to allow the killing of elephants which have been wreaking havoc in Kodagu.
He reminds the government that the residents fear for life to move even inside the coffee estates. Children are scared to go to schools. People in some places do not even dare to come out of their houses, according to him.
He points out that the number of wild elephants in Kodagu has steadily risen. While birth control measures are being taken in the case of other animals, they cannot be applied to wild elephants. Therefore, he feels, the only option left is to get rid of them.
He cites the permission granted to a few other states to kill such wild elephants as would create similar problems. He has demanded that the state government write to the Union government seeking permission to do so.
Now this is a tricky matter. There are several public-spirited individuals, NGOs and forums that fight for the conservation of wildlife.
How organisations like the vibrant Coorg Wildlife Society would respond to this matter is yet to be known.