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Setting up of elephant sanctuary suggested

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Countering menace: Former Minister H.K. Kumaraswamy with farmers staging a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Hassan on Monday. District Deputy Commissioner Naveen Raj Singh (right) is talking to the agitators.
Countering menace: Former Minister H.K. Kumaraswamy with farmers staging a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Hassan on Monday. District Deputy Commissioner Naveen Raj Singh (right) is talking to the agitators.

Staff Correspondent

Translocate elephants that have destroyed crops, say farmers

Increase compensation for crop loss, death due to elephant attack: agitators

Wild elephant menace causing problems in 70 villages: Venkatesh Murthy

HASSAN: Farmers’ representatives, led by the former Minister H.K. Kumaraswamy, staged dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Monday demanding translocation of elephants that have destroyed crops in Sakleshpur, Alur and Arakalagudu taluks. Environmentalist R.P. Venkatesh Murthy, H.P. Mohan, zilla pachayat member Dyave Gowda also participated in the dharna.

In their representation to the Deputy Commissioner, they said that the wild elephants that strayed away from Madikeri forest had destroyed standing crops and many elephants had died in accidents. To counter loss of crop and lives of elephants, they suggested that the Government set up an elephant sanctuary on Hassan-Madikeri border and shift the elephants there.

They also demanded that compensation for family of the victim who dies in an elephant attack be raised from the present Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh. The agitators said that 10-year-old coffee plant costs Rs. 500 but compensation of Rs. 20 is given by the Government. Compensation should be fixed on par with crop loss, they opined.

Mr. Kumaraswamy told presspersons that the Government should either sponsor solar electric fencing to farmers’ land in villages that are prone to wild elephant menace or rehabilitate those villagers elsewhere.

Reeling out statistics, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that during the period between 2003 and 2008, 13 people died due to elephant attack and 138 persons were injured. Nine elephants died allegedly due to electrocution. And, Rs. 35 lakh compensation was yet to be distributed to farmers.

Mr. Venkatesh Murthy said wild elephant menace caused problems in 70 villages in Sakleshpur, Alur and Arakalagudu taluks. He said more than 20-25 elephants, including one or two tuskers, enter the fields at night and graze there. Then, they walk through narrow village roads to reach Hemavathi backwaters. There they take a bath and rest for a while in the nearby forest. And, when it becomes dark again they proceed to the next village. This was the daily routine that the elephants had been following. It was quite a task for the farmers to save their standing crops namely paddy, sugarcane, coffee, ragi, arecanut, plantain and groundnut.

Mr. Murthy said that the villages that were affected were: Bembaluru, Kerodi, Mugalali, Hammige, Shettihalli, Chavaduhalli, Konnapura, Ponnathapura, Padumanahalli, Madihalli, Varathhuru, Anathhara, Bhaktarahalli, Merave, Sulugodu, Nagavara, Muttinahalli, Ganjigere, Honnavalli, Kusaguru, Halasanahalli and Kudigele.

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