Tamil Nadu

Remove electric fence in dam area: HC

The Madras High Court has ordered removal of any electric fence found in the water spread area of the Bhavanisagar dam.

In an order passed a week ago, Judges M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam asked the Coimbatore Circle Conservator of Forests (CF) and the Coimbatore District Forest Officer (DFO) to inspect the water spread area of the dam in the districts of Erode and Coimbatore and look into the allegation made by the petitioner. The officials have been asked to file a status report within four weeks.

In the writ petition, Dr. T. Murugavel, an English professor from Chennai, submitted that the State government decided to lease out land falling in the water spread area of the dam to landless and poor farmers way back in 1967. It contained both reserve forest and PWD lands.

The land was leased out in the dry season, and during rains, it would be submerged. All agricultural activities in the forest area that continue today were encroachments, and therefore, illegal. Also, while the original beneficiaries of the lease system were poor farmers, lately, cultivation was being carried out by wealthy farmers, mafia and cartels who retained the lessees as labour for obtaining the lease under their name.

The encroachment of forest land always result in man-animal conflict. During summer, elephants congregate in huge numbers to feed on the highly nutritious vegetation (small shoots and grass). Tigers, leopards and wild boar frequent this area for water, he said.

When the land is taken up for agriculture, grass and fresh sprouts are destroyed and farmers drive away the animals from probably the only water source during summer.

Man-animal conflict

It is reported that some farmers have even erected power fences to keep away the animals which could kill them. Seeking removal of all encroachments, he said failure to do so would lead to escalation of the man-animal conflict.

Posting the next hearing to June 20, the High Court asked the Coimbatore CF and the DFO to file a status report by then along with supporting documents and photographs.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 8:33:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/remove-electric-fence-in-dam-area-hc/article23703709.ece

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