Concerned over large-scale destruction of crops by herds of ‘Ghodparas’, popularly known as nilgai or blue bull, and wild boar in certain districts of Bihar, the state government has decided to hire professional shooters possessing licensed guns to kill the two species outside protected forest area.
Arvind Kumar Chaudhary, the principal secretary of environment, forest and climate change department, said village ‘mukhiyas’ (heads) have been given the authority to assess the complaints of crop damage filed by farmers, and accordingly take a call if a state-appointed shooter should be told to cull an animals as and when it strays into the fields.
“Blue bull and wild boar have been destroying agricultural crops extensively in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Bhojpur and Sheohar. Keeping the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in mind, the forest department has appointed mukhiyas as the nodal authority to identify and allow the killing of these two species outside the protected area by state-appointed shooters.
“The job will have to be undertaken in coordination with the officials of the forest department,” Chaudhary told PTI.
He also said that a high-level committee has been constituted to select professional shooters possessing licensed guns.
The committee has so far received applications from 14 shooters and the process of hiring them will be completed by the end of this month, Mr Chaudhary stated.
Explaining further, he said, “Procedures laid down for the operation have to be strictly followed. Mukhiyas will play a very crucial role in the entire exercise – from giving the go-ahead to making arrangements for burial. The government will bear the cost of cartridges and burial.” Bihar Panchayati Raj Minister Samrat Choudhary, when approached, said extreme caution has to be maintained while carrying out the operation.
“There is no doubt that these two animals are causing huge damage to crops in certain districts of the state. But mukhiyas will have to act very cautiously. A mukhiya should issue hunting permits to shooters only after proper verification of farmers’ complaints. The village heads will have to submit a monthly report to the competent authority,” he told PTI.
According to officials, farmers in some parts of Bihar had long been complaining of crop losses with these two species often straying into their fields, especially during this time of the year.
Meanwhile, Alokparna Sengupta, the managing director of the India wing of Humane Society International, said culling of animals cannot be the solution to this problem.
“Such measures have been taken by other state governments, too, in the past. That never led to any permanent solution. The problem still persists there. Killing of innocent animals must be condemned,” she added.