Works on to mitigate human-animal conflicts on forest fringes

Published - July 09, 2024 08:15 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

In response to the escalating human-wildlife conflicts along the forest fringes of the district, the Forest department has begun works to instal solar-powered hanging fences over a 46.5-km stretch and construct 3.3 km of elephant-proof trenches (EPT) in the Erumeli and Mundakayam areas.

Supported by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the Central government’s Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme, the tendering process of the project is already under way, and the completion of the works is expected within three to six months.

A major component of this initiative involves erecting 31 km of solar fencing at a cost of ₹3.50 crore. This task has been assigned to the Kerala Police Housing & Construction Corporation (KPHCC). The fencing will be strategically installed at various locations, including Azhuthakadav-Kalaketty (5 km) in Erumely, Kandankayam-Mathamba (16 km) near Mundakayam, and the tribal colony in Plakkathadam (10 km) near Murinjapuzha.

Additionally, elephant-proof trenches will be constructed at key sites: Kannattu Kavala-Pannivettumpara (500 m), Kombukuthi tribal settlement (1 km), and Manjalaruvi-Kulamakkal (300 m), with a total cost estimated at ₹51.7 lakh.

Under the RKVY scheme, a further 15.5 km of solar hanging fence will be installed, covering stretches from Manjalaruvi to Mambadi (6 km) and Koyikkakavu to Payasappadi (9.5 km), at a total budget of ₹1.50 crore. An additional 1.5 km of elephant-proof trench will be constructed from Mambadi to Pakkanam at a cost of ₹37.5 lakh.

The installation of the solar hanging fence involves suspending steel wires from a three-meter-high horizontal overhead wire supported by posts at both ends. When an elephant contacts the wires, it receives a mild shock, deterring it from crossing without causing harm to the animal.

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