ANGUL: A day after the MP tigress ‘Sundari’ mauled a woman to death, tension prevailed in villages in Satkosia Tiger reserve (STR) area for the second consecutive day on Thursday. Local residents staged a massive protest, forcing the administration to agree to the locals’ demand to shift the tigress to another reserve.
However, state forest minister Bijayshree Routray told TOI that the department is yet to take a concrete decision regarding Sundari. “The postmortem report is yet to come. I have called senior forest officers for a discussion on the issue. We are in touch with police and district administration and are monitoring the situation,” Routray said.
Earlier, the irate villagers agreed to withdraw their protest after STR officials assured them to shift tigress ‘Sundari’, which was brought from the Bandhavgarh forest. The district administration, police and STR officials also agreed to pay compensation to the family of the deceased.
Angul district collector Anil Kumar Samal told TOI, ”The district administration has provided an ex gratia of Rs 20,000 to the family of the deceased Kailashi. Moreover, the forest department would give Rs 4 lakh to her family”.
Tripartite meet in 15 days to look into demands of locals
Regarding shifting of the tigress, the district collector said, “We have asked the STR authorities to shift the tiger and they are working on it. A team from the wildlife department is coming to the STR to assess the situation and take action. A tripartite meeting will be convened within 15 days to look into other demands of the locals”. Angul SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said, “Police and CRPF personnel will guard the villages till the tigress is captured”.
Earlier, the residents resorted to a road blockade with the woman’s body, held demonstration and even ransacked offices on the STR premises. They did allow the police to take the body for post-mortem. Road blockade was reported at several places, including Pampasar, Jaganathpur, Majhipada and Tarabha. The mob also torched a motorcycle.
Dhaneswar Pradhan of Jaganathpur village situated in STR area said, “The villagers are terrified and have stopped venturing out for field work owing to fear of tiger. The tigress had earlier attacked a forest official in Katrang area, besides making multiple intrusions in the human inhabited areas. The government must first capture the tigress. If the authorities fail to shift the tigress, we would go on an indefinite strike.”
According to sources, the victim Kailashi Sai had gone to take a bath in the pond when she was mauled to death by the tigress. After Kailashi did not return home, her kin started searching for her and later they found that she had been mauled by the tigress.
On Wednesday, the locals had torched the beat house at Hatibari and range office at Tikarpara. The irate mob also set afire five to six boats and six motor launches. Property worth around Rs five crore was either damaged or torched, sources said.