Katol BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh posing with a shooter in front of a dead blue bull

Mumbai: Amid controversy triggered by a photograph showing Katol BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh posing with a shooter in front of a dead blue bull, the state’s forest department on Wednesday scotched rumours of alleged poaching by the lawmaker, clarifying that the animal was culled with due permission to protect standing crop.

“The animal in the picture was culled with due permission from our Range Forest Officer (RFO) AK Makde. The panchnama was also done in the presence of our staff,” Nagpur Deputy Conservator of Forests Jayanti Banerjee said.
The forest department allows killing of animals like blue bulls, wild boars — who often cause huge crop damage — with permission from the concerned RFO. After killing the animal the panchnama, too, has to be performed in the presence of forest staff. “I get several calls from affected farmers every day. I thought I must do something so I took help of members of Nagpur District Rifle Association and accompanied them twice during the night on the mission to kill the animal. For this, due permission was taken,” Deshmukh said about the incident. Asked about posing with the gun, Deshmukh added, “It has helped create awareness about the issue, but it also unnecessarily created a controversy.”
About the problem of crop damage faced by farmers, he said, “Crop damage by animals like blue bulls and wild boars is a huge problem across the country. Many states have approached the Centre to delete these animals from Scheduled V of the endangered animals and declare them as vermin (non-endangered).
This would facilitate killing without permission making the life of the farmer easier. Our state government is also preparing a proposal to the effect to be sent to the Centre. Union Environment Minister has assured us that he would grant permission within 15 days.”

Nitin Desai, the Central India Director of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and a well-known poaching expert, said: “It is indeed a very serious problem for farmers, particularly in a drought situation when these animals make life difficult for them. But if they are declared vermins, it could lead to their indiscriminate killings by others too. This might hit the prey availability for predators like tigers and leopards. As it is, they are widely poached for illegal wild meat trade. Any such step to declare them vermins will have to factor these issues, particularly in protected wildlife areas.”

Posted by on November 5, 2015. Filed under State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.