Elected representatives accused of making false promises
The project should have been implemented between 2008-09 and 2012-13
‘136 posts are vacant in the Forest Department in Kodagu’
Madikeri: The secretary of the Kodagu unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), I.R. Durgaprasad, on Tuesday urged the State Government to make public details regarding the Rs. 350-crore proposal submitted to it by the Forest Department in July last to tackle the elephant menace in Kodagu.
In a statement issued here, Dr. Durgaprasad said the then in-charge Conservator of Forests, Kodagu Circle, Srikantaiah, announced this at a meeting on the elephant menace in Kodagu. Elected representatives from Kodagu, who had attended the meeting, promised that the proposal would be included in the State budget in consultation with the Chief Minister.
He said that the elected representatives and forest officials had been making false promises.
The proposal provided for growing fodder and plant species such as jackfruit and bamboo at certain pockets in the Nagarahole park, putting up solar fence in vulnerable areas, desilting of tanks and water holes in the forests to provide water to the elephants, and so on.
The project should have been implemented between 2008-09 and 2012-13. Participating in a programme organised by the Kodagu branch of the Journalists Association of Karnataka here on August 12 last, Madikeri MLA M.P. Appachu Ranjan and Virajpet MLA K.G. Bopaiah stated that the proposal could not be included in the budget as it had been submitted late.
They had stated that they would strive to get funds released after taking up the proposal with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Dr. Durgaprasad said.
To add to this, in-charge secretary for Kodagu Gaurav Gupta stated in a review meeting here on September 28 last that a high-level meeting would be convened in Bangalore to discuss the matter, but it did not happen. The former Minister for Rural Development Shobha Karandlaje too assured of utilising the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act funds for digging elephant proof trenches in the affected parts of the State, Dr. Durgaprasad said.
A total of 136 posts were vacant in the Forest Department in Kodagu.
This hindered proper functioning of the department, Dr. Durgaprasad said.
The forest personnel were deprived of modern gadgets and weapons to tackle menaces such as poaching and smuggling.
The elected representatives should take up these matters with the State Government, he said.
He alleged that H. Vishwanath, MP, remained “insensitive” to these problems.
He said Mr. Vishwanath had asked the forest officials to prepare a report on the elephant menace in Kodagu at a review meeting here two months ago.
The MP had even stated that a meeting of forest officials from Kodagu, Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Hassan districts would be convened soon. But the meeting was not held, Dr. Durgaprasad said.