Panaji: Forget that the beautiful peacock is the national bird and protected under the wild life laws of the country. In Goa, it may well be termed a vermin and culled ruthlessly.
Goa's Agriculture Minister Ramesh Tawadkar sees in the peacock a farm nuisance that, like monkeys and wild boars, causes severe damage to crops and "should be declared a vermin" and culled periodically.
Tawadkar said on Friday a committee of government officials is considering what to do.
"We have said in the last Assembly (sitting) about monkeys and wild boars creating a nuisance for farmers and that a committee would be formed to assess and declare them as vermin," he said.
"Some farmers said that peacocks also were damaging their crops in fields in hilly areas. The committee will also assess whether peacocks should be declared vermin or nuisance species," Tawadkar said.
The Goa agriculture minister, however, hastened to add that no species of animals or birds, including the peacock, have yet been declared a vermin.
The peacock is India's national bird and is a protected species under the Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
During last month's winter session of the Goa legislative assembly, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had assured that wild boars, monkeys and other wild animals who disrupt agricultural and horticultural activity and destroy crops would be classified as vermin soon.
"Time has come to classify some of these animals as vermin. Monkeys and wild boar regularly destroy fields," Parsekar said.
Rapid growth of urban areas and shrinking forest cover in Goa have left decreasing space for wild life, which often encroaches upon human habitat.