TAMIL NADU

Forest department promises all resources to mitigate man-animal conflict

Staff Reporter



Farmers want crop, life insurances

Have cooperative solar fencing, farmers told



Coimbatore: All resources within the command of the official machinery will be put to the best use to mitigate the man-animal conflict, said R. Kannan, Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, here on Thursday.

He was speaking at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting convened by the department in association with Osai, a non-governmental organisation. The stakeholders included seven panchayat presidents in Thadagam and Naickenpalayam valley, which witnessed frequent incidents of elephant herds straying into human habitations and destroying crops.

District Forest Officer I. Anwardeen, Forest Veterinarian N.S. Manoharan, Researchers from World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Trust of India B. Ramakrishnan, N. Mohanraj, R. Arumugam, P. Arumugam and K. Sivasubramanian and farmers spoke.

Mr.Kannan said the focus would be to have quick response teams i.e., anti-depredation squads, elephant-proof trenches and solar fencing.

In 2008, a sum of Rs. 86 lakh was paid as compensation towards crop damage and loss of human lives. This year also there was an allocation of Rs. 86 lakh. Collector V. Palanikumar had written to the government for enhancing the amount.

Farmers urged the department to bring in crop insurance and life insurance for the farmers in the fringe villages of the forest. They pointed out the time lag in terms of the date of crop damage and the date of receiving the compensation.

They wanted the District Rural Development Agency to remain flexible with the conflict-prone villages in terms of implementation of government schemes such as employment generation and welfare assistance.

Mr. Anwardeen explained the need for rotating, differing or changing the cropping pattern to ensure that it never coincided with the migratory season of the pachyderms. He asked the elected representatives to regulate the construction of huge buildings as the compound wall of such structures could divert the herds from their migratory track.

Mr.Anwardeen asked the farmers to employ people not above the age of 50 at their farms so that they would be in a position to see, react or run in the event of elephants’ entry. He suggested that they had cooperative solar fencing. The farmers should have elevated ‘machans’ in their farms to keep vigil. Researchers said the farmers should go in for the thorny bush plant “Cylindroopuntia ramossimum” to fence the farms.

The meeting stressed the need for conserving elephant population for better sustenance of the ecological system.

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