It is 10 months since the Karnataka High Court-appointed Elephant Task Force came out with ways and means to prevent man-elephant conflicts in the state.
But the government is yet to decide on implementing its recommendations. Only last week, the court had pulled up the government for sitting on its hands on this count. And now, yet another instance of man-elephant conflict has been reported near Hoskote.
The 13-member task force, led by Raman Sukumar of Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Ecological Sciences, had specifically dealt in detail with the issue of man-elephant conflict in various elephant corridors, making a series of suggestions in its 150-page report submitted in September 2012.
It had recommended creation of elephant conservation zone, elephant-human coexistence zone and elephant removal zones with specific set of goals, prevention of commercial infrastructure projects near elephant corridors, and so on as long-term measures.
More importantly, for managing such conflicts on a day-to-day and local scale basis, it had suggested several short-term measures. It advised that the Forest Department partner with the local eco-development committees or even panchayat raj institutions to secure farm landscapes from elephants.
It proposed construction of barriers like elephant-proof trenches to prevent the animals crossing over to farm area from forest or elephant corridors.
Another suggestion was a toll-free helpline in forest ranges to provide timely assistance to those injured in elephant attacks and deploy anti-depredation squads to farm areas.
The task force had also pointed out that payment of ex-gratia relief is an important post-facto means of alleviating the impact of crop loss and suggested for streamlining and expediting the present disbursal system.