Mumbai, Mar 25 (UNI) The Maharashtra government today announced an increase in the compensation amount from Rs one lakh to Rs ten lakh to families of 174 villagers, who were killed in leopard or tiger attacks near forest areas in the state.
Minister of State for Forest Babanrao Pachpute made this announcement in the legislative council, while he was making a statement on a calling attention notice given by actor Sanjay Dutt of Congress and others, asking the state to provide adequate protection to save the lives of people living on the fringes of forest.
Mr Pachpute said 7,000 families have been identified to be living on the fringes of forest in the state and would be eligible for the compensation.
The state had also started a campaign, under which it is catching the leopards and sending them back to the forest. The forest department has caught 107 leopards, which were creating problems in residential areas, Mr Pachpute said.
Tribals living in the periphery of forests have been advised not to go alone into the forest and the facilities of food and water for the animals have been made available in the forest area so that they stop coming to the residential areas in search of food, Mr Pachpute said.
Even as the strength of tigers is eroding in the country according to the tiger census conducted in 2005, the state has got 268 tigers, out of which 173 tigers are in the sanctuaries, while 95 are outside, the Minister informed.
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