The Forest Department is embarking on a Rs. 3-crore project to prevent man-elephant conflict.

The project included measures to augment availability of fodder and water.

The State Government recently sanctioned Rs. 4.5 crore to the Coimbatore Forest Division.

Of which Rs. 1.5 crore was for setting up a regional kumki camp at Chadivayal.Coimbatore Forest Division is spread over 690 sq km in six ranges, of which 400 sq km is conflict-prone.

The division has 58 villages and 315 route km of forest boundary.

Under the project, trenches will be dug for 79 km along the conflict-prone forest boundary. Solar fences along 50 km will be repaired and 19 km long existing trenches will be improved. Five watch towers will come up at Thaliyur, Mangarai, Lingapuram, Karamadai, and Anaikatti to monitor the movement of elephants. Powerful search lights and torch lights will be supplied to villagers in conflict-prone areas.

Percolation ponds will be constructed to make water available for the wildlife. A livestock inspector will be appointed to look after elephants at the proposed Chadivayal camp. Measures to improve fodder will be taken up in 20 hectares at 10 places. Trees will be grown in 5 hectares and grass in 15 hectares.

Two vehicles will be provided for the squad. To provide essential commodities to squad members, Rs. 24 lakhs has been earmarked. The proposals were suggested by Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, V.T. Kandasamy, and District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu.

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