Kottayam: As many as 295 people in Kerala died of snakebite in Kerala in the last three years. A breakup of data shows that most of the snakebites happened during the summer months.
Last year, as many as 81 people lost their lives to snakebite, compared to 86 in 2016 and 128 in 2015. Most of the fatalities were reported from Palakkad district. The relatively warmer district reported 44 snakebite deaths, followed by Pathanamthitta’s death toll of 22. As many as 15 people have died in Kollam.
All of them died when bitten by a snake in the countryside well outside forest limits. The Kerala government compiles the data since it is bound to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the family of a victim of snakebite outside the forests.
People who have survived snakebites with some kind of impairment come up to almost double of the casualty toll. Each of them received Rs 75,000 as compensation from the government. In the case of people who belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the government will bear the full expense of their medical treatment in addition to paying the compensation.
If the fatal snakebite happened inside the forest, the government would pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the victim’s family, provided the person entered the forest with authorization. The higher compensation is also extended to pilgrims to temples inside forests, such as the Sabarimala Ayyappa shrine and the Agasthyarkoodam hill.
Animal raids on the rise
The data from the government also points to an increase in animal intrusion to the countryside. The state government’s distribution of compensation for the loss of lives and crops due to animal raids has more than doubled from 2013 to 2017.
The government distributed Rs 9.64 crore as compensation for crop loss and life loss in 2017, a whopping increase from Rs 6.81 crore in 2016 and Rs 7.82 crore in 2015. The government paid Rs 6.59 crore in 2014 and Rs 4.61 crore in 2013 as compensation.
As many as 187 people fell prey to animal attacks from May 2016 to December 2017. Wild elephants topped the list of mischief makers. As many as 57 people have died in Palakkad district and 23 in Pathanamthitta district.
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