Wild elephants were on the rampage yet again damaging crops in villages on the forest fringes of Kuppam and Ramakuppam mandals in the district. According to the farmers, around 22 elephants were moving around in three herds.
Residents of the villages, especially Veernamala, which bore the brunt, deplored that though the elephants were moving close to human habitations and destroying crops, there was no serious effort on the part of forest officials to drive the pachyderms back into the forests. Lack of night vigil at the fields was also resulting in crop raids by wild boars as well.
The farmers said according to the instructions of the forest officials, they had stopped taking steps to scare the animals away. “Each time the crop raids take place, trackers are engaged to light up firecrackers accompanied by drumbeats to scare the pachyderms away. This is not yielding the desired result, as the elephants go away for a while only to return in the night. A lot of money is being wasted on buying firecrackers,” a farmer pointed out. He said the officials need to devise a more scientific method to tackle the menace.
In spite of the assurance of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu that farmers who had sustained crop loss owing to the elephant menace, would be paid suitable compensation, the local forest officials were not pursuing the process properly, the farmers alleged.