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Trenches to check wild jumbos

With forest cover dwindling and illegal occupation of the area for purposes of agricultural operations increasing, wild animals have become a menace for farmers and villagers residing adjoining the green belts.

Reports of wild elephants entering villages and farms in herds and destroying crops are becoming a common feature in Mysore and adjoining Chamarajanagar districts of Karnataka, as elsewhere in the State. Unable to find enough food, these wild animals often raid agricultural lands and farms in places like Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar, Kollegal and H.D. Kote taluks. Besides destroying crops, the wild jumbos have some times killed the villagers. Even leopards living in the green area atop the Chamundi Hills in Mysore have been found entering places on the outskirts of the city during nights, in search of food. A few of them have been run over also by speeding vehicles on the Mysore-Ootacamund highway.

The Karnataka Government has taken several steps to check the menace of wild elephants. In areas where the menace is more, it has already dug up trenches and installed solar-charged fences. The area adjoining Bandipur is already covered with elephant-trenches and fences. However, the wild animals are finding new areas to raid the villages and often villagers complain about the loss of crops and killing of cattle, by the raiding herds. The farmers affected are compensated by the Forest Department.

Now, the menace is growing in the H.D.Kote taluk, adjoining the vast forest area of the State.
According to M. Shivanna, Minister of State for Finance, who represents H.D.Kote constituency in the Assembly, wild elephants are often destroying crops in the taluk. In some places, loss of life has also occurred.

In order to check this menace and also check the depleating forest wealth by encroachment and poaching, the Forest Department has prepared a Rs.4 crore proposal and the same was sent to the Government for approval. Under the proposal, the Department has planned digging of elephant - trenches and installation of solar-energy charged fences in the affected areas. This could check the menace of jumbos raiding villages and agricultural areas. The work on these two projects would be taken up shortly as the Government has released Rs. 2 crores, the Minister has said.

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