Kerala govt pays compensation to farmer two years after protected python swallows hens

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Thiruvananthapuram: K.V. George, a small-time poultry farmer from Kerala’s Kasargod, had been running from pillar to post for the past two years to get compensation from the state government after some of the hens he was rearing went missing. George was disturbed after noticing the numbers dwindling every day in the hen coop in his home.

Initially, he suspected that someone was stealing the hens, but then one day in June 2022, he found out the thief and it was a python. Seeing the massive python, he quickly informed the forest officials, who came and took it away.

Then, the forest officials informed George that he could apply for compensation as the rare reptile was ‘state-protected’, which he did promptly. The python is granted the utmost protection status under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.But his efforts to get the compensation failed to materialise.

A year later a distraught George took up the issue at a ‘Janata adalat’ conducted by a state Minister. George expressed his ire to the Minister by stating that the snake might belong to the Kerala government, but the hens he lost were his and he needed to be compensated. The Minister pacified George but he still did not get compensation. Finally, he decided to approach the Kerala Human Rights Commission.

But, before he could approach the Commission, he got a call from the Forest Department regarding the compensation. He was sanctioned Rs 2,000 for the hens that were consumed by the ‘state-owned’ python.

A happy George finally felt relieved and said his efforts were rewarded. Meanwhile, to protect his assets from the ‘state-owned snakes’, he has fortified his hen coop.

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