Talavadi farmers seek effective steps to prevent elephants from venturing out of forest

December 05, 2023 06:08 pm | Updated 06:09 pm IST - ERODE

Farmers in Talavadi Hills have urged the Forest Department to take effective steps to prevent wild animals from venturing out of forest and entering human habitations.

A stakeholders consultation meeting was organised at Hasanur on Monday that was chaired by K. Sudhakar, Deputy Director of STR and District Forest Officer, Hasanur Forest Division. Bhavanisagar MLA A. Bannari, officials from the department of revenue, police, Tangedco, and representatives of farmers associations were present.

Airing the grievance, Vijay Vincent, executive member of Talavadi Farmers Association, said the only solution to solve the human-animal conflict was to prevent elephants and other animals from entering farm lands. He said that in 2022, an elephant proof trench (EPT) was dug at Malkuthipuram village and solar-powered fences were erected with contributions from farmers and the Forest Department.

“It had totally prevented wild animals from venturing out of the forest in the last one year,” he said and added that if elephants could not come out of the forest, its food pattern including its carving for maize and sugarcane would change. He wanted EPTs and solar-powered fences for 50 km in Talavadi hills so that 90% of the conflicts were prevented.

Recently, an elephant died of electrocution at Ikkalur village and farmers prevented veterinarians from carrying out an autopsy. The Forest Department lodged a complaint with Talavadi police who registered a case against 30 farmers for preventing officials from discharging their duties. The farmers condemned registering the case and wanted it withdrawn.

They wanted mobile towers installed in remote areas, and the Forest Department carried out a documentation process in claiming compensation for loss of cattle and human lives in conflict, allow them to collect minor forest produce, remove bushes on both sides of roads and upgrade Kottadai Government Middle School into a high school.

Mr. Bannari said steps would be taken to improve basic amenities and install mobile towers in remote areas. Mr. Sudhakar said the grievances highlighted by people and farmers would be taken up with higher officials for action.

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