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Forest Minister Khandre visits next of kin of darting expert killed in tusker attack

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Hassan: Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre visited ‘Sharp Shooter’ Venkatesh’s family at Honnavalli here on Wednesday.

Venkatesh, who was popularly known as ‘Aane Venkatesh’ for his skill to dart wild elephants, was attacked by a tusker Bheema during an operation to capture and treat the ailing tusker, at Halliyuru in Aluru taluk, Hassan district, recently.

The minister consoled the bereaved family members and said Venkatesh’s demise was a great loss to the department.

“With his exceptional skill, he was known as ‘Aane Venkatesh’. But his demise is a loss to the department,” the minister told Venkatesh’s sons Mohit and Mithun.

He also explained to the family that as the news of the attack became known, he did everything in his capacity to save the life of Venkatesh.

He assured a special compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Venkatesh’s family.

When reporters quizzed Khandre about the department’s alleged negligence during the operation to drive away elephants which eventually took the life of Venkatesh, the minister said that the forest department is investigating these allegations and if found guilty, action will be initiated against the guilty.

On complaints of elephants straying into human habitats, the minister said that he will soon hold a meeting of district representatives in Kodagu, Hassan, Mysuru, Ramanagar and Bengaluru rural areas, where elephant attacks have become rampant, to evolve permanent measures to address the issue.

To prevent wild elephants straying into human habitats, the government is installing railway barricades. So far, barricades have been installed covering 312 km. Since there is a lack of availability of railway barricades, there is a delay, the minister said.

Fitting radio collars to rogue elephants, digging trenches and laying solar-powered fences are other measures to tackle the menace, Khandre added.

-Team Mysoorunews

Mysooru News

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