The drive is in compliance with court order passed on January 5 this year
Supervised by officials from various departments, the owners of resorts, houses and farms removed solar fences that they had put up around their premises at various places in the elephant corridor of the Sigur Plateau and the adjoining areas of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the Nilgiris on Monday. It was in compliance with a High Court order passed on January 5 this year. All the 42 fences identified for removal have been removed, officials said.
The court passed the order after hearing a petition filed by R. Vishnu Ram Saravanavel of Chennai – that the solar fences hampered the movement of animals.
Accordingly, the district administration had fixed January 15 as the deadline for the owners of the properties to remove the fences themselves, if they wanted to avoid seizure of the materials. Till January 15, 26 fences were removed by the owners.
On Monday, under the initiative of District Collector (in-charge) L. Nirmalraj, ten teams comprising officials and personnel of the forests, revenue, commercial taxes, electricity and police departments descended on those properties whose owners had not met the deadline. But, overseen by the teams, the owners removed the fences.
District Forest Officer (the Nilgiris North) S. Ramasubramaniam told The Hindu that all the identified fences had been removed and there was no resistance from the owners. Some of them had co-operated well after being told about the problem the fences posed to the animals and about the court order.
The official said they had put up the fences to prevent wild elephants from damaging their property. But, this had forced the animals, particularly the elephants, to choose new paths.