Coimbatore

Illegal fences in Bhavani Sagar water spread area removed

Forest Department officials removing illegal electric fencing from a banana plantation close to the water storage area of Bhavani Sagar Dam in Sirumugai in Coimbatore on Monday.

Forest Department officials removing illegal electric fencing from a banana plantation close to the water storage area of Bhavani Sagar Dam in Sirumugai in Coimbatore on Monday.  

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The action follows a recent order by the Madras High Court

The Forest Department and the Water Resources Organisation of PWD (Bhavani Sagar Dam), on Monday, removed illegal electric fences erected by farmers over a distance of 20 km along both sides of the water spread area of Bhavani Sagar Dam in Coimbatore district. The fences were removed based on a recent order by the Madras High Court.

A team comprising 50 staff from the Forest Department and 30 staff from the PWD removed the fences erected in areas coming under Sirumugai Forest Range of the Coimbatore Forest Division. Though the dam is situated in Erode district, water spread area of the reservoir stretches several kilometres through the Sirumugai Forest Range.

According to the forest officials, fences erected over a distance of 10 km along Nilgiris eastern slope side and 11 km on the Mothur-Pethikuttai side of dam’s water spread area were removed in the joint exercise. The fences were erected by farmers to protect crops, mainly banana, from wild animals that stray into farm lands. They have been cultivating crops in the water spread area for several decades, when the dam’s water level recedes during summer.

“The fences were removed with the protection of police. There was no resistance from farmers as most of them knew that the Forest staff and the PWD were executing the court order. Some of the farmers who had erected fences voluntarily removed them before the team from the Forest Department and PWD visited the area,” said E.N. Manoharan, forest range officer, Sirumugai.

With the fences removed, movement of elephants from Nilgiris eastern slope side to Mothur-Pethikuttai side will be enabled.

“So far, movement of elephants across the water spread area was not possible due to fences. Nilgiris eastern slope side is rich in fodder. Elephants can now freely roam across the water spread area when water level is low,” said Mr. Manoharan adding that patrols will be conducted to ensure that farmers do not erect fences further. The High Court had ordered removal of illegal electric fences following a writ petition filed by T. Murugavel of Chennai.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:29:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/illegal-fences-in-bhavani-sagarwater-spread-area-removed/article24255688.ece

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