Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, said the Government would extend live fencing to various tribal settlements and other human habitations along the forest fringes across the State, once the ongoing project at Velanplavu tribal colony in Ranni proved a success.

Mr Chandy was addressing the tribal people during his visit to the Velanplavu tribal colony on Saturday.

The Forest department had launched live fencing of the tribal settlement through the Velanplavu Vana Samrakshana Samiti (VSS), six months ago, following a request in this regard from a colony resident, Usha.

In her memorandum to the Chief Minister through the ‘Sutharya Keralam’ programme, the tribal woman had complained about the threat facing the tribals of Velanplavu colony from wild animals, especially elephants.

She said elephants straying into the tribal settlement, destroying the crop and tribal dwellings, was a major problem that warranted immediate Governmental intervention.

The memorandum of Ms. Usha was the first one the Chief Minister had received at his popular ‘Sutharya Keralam’ programme and he had directed the Forest department to explore the possibility of setting up a live fence to address the problem faced by the tribal families at Velanplavu.

The Vana Samrakshana Samiti had spent its own fund worth Rs 1.75 lakh for setting up the live fence by growing sisal plants (Agave Sisalana), a thorny shrub, along the boundaries of the colony.

Mr Chandy said the electric fences laid in various other parts of the State to ward off wild elephants attacking farm lands and human habitations along the forest fringes would be replaced with such kind of live fences in future, if the ongoing project at Velanplavu was found a success.

He said the Government would also explore the possibility of setting up a solar-powered electric fence along the boundaries of the Velanplavu, utilising the Tribal Plan Fund.

Road project

Mr Chandy has also sanctioned Rs 1.10 crore for constructing a road to the Velanplavu colony from Laha.

Anto Antony, MP; K. Sivadasan Nair, Raju Abraham, MLAs; P. Venugopal, District Collector, and P. Mohanraj, District Congress President; also accompanied the Chief Minister to the tribal colony.