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Alur planters facing a jumbo problem

Sathish G.T.
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Labourers are refusing to work fearing elephant attacks

An elephantine problem: The Centre is yet to approve the proposal of the State Government to shift 25 wild elephants that have been moving around Alur range for the last few years. — File photo
An elephantine problem: The Centre is yet to approve the proposal of the State Government to shift 25 wild elephants that have been moving around Alur range for the last few years. — File photo

The wild elephants camping in Alur range have posed a serious threat to farmers in the region. Following continuous elephant attacks, coffee planters are finding it difficult to get people to work in their farms. The labourers refuse to work in the farms fearing elephant attacks.

A week ago, 23 elephants strayed into farms around Bettahalli in Alur taluk and kept the people on tenterhooks for a couple of days. Two weeks ago, Vinay of Datur, a planter, had an encounter with a lone tusker when he was bringing workers from nearby villages to his farm. His vehicle was damaged as the animal trampled it. On Saturday, three elephants strayed into Hanumanahalli leaving the villagers in fear.

K.V. Chandrashekhar, a planter in Alur, said: “Many farmers, including me, are suffering losses as we cannot get workers on time. Elephants visit our farms often.” As the news of elephants' presence in the area spread, workers decided not to work in the area where elephants are present.

As many as 25 elephants had been moving around Alur range for the last few years. The State Government's proposal to shift them has raised hopes of an uneventful future among the public. However, the Centre is yet to approve the proposal.

Minister for Forests C.P. Yogeshwar, during a recent visit to the taluk, promised that the elephants would be shifted soon. The operation would be launched by the end of December this year. The State Government in its letter dated September 15, 2011 to the Additional Director-General of Forests, appealed to the Centre to approve capture and relocating of all 25 elephants.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Ambadi Madhav had sent a proposal for Rs. 1.4 crore to capture and relocate the elephants. The State Government has released Rs. 10 lakh as the initial amount towards preparations for the operation. “It is a massive operation. The department has already placed orders for jute ropes and tents required to set up camps,” the officer said.

The plan

The department would set up base camps in Iguru (Yeslur range) and Magalu (Alur range). Three veterinary doctors and 10 tamed elephants would be required for the operation. “The tamed elephants from Cauvery Nisargadhama and Nagarhole will be engaged in the operation. The elephants which took part in the Dasara celebrations will also be part of the team to capture wild elephants,” he said.

The operation might go for three to four months. It would begin as soon as the Centre approves the State's proposal, Mr. Madhav added.

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