Elephant menace: Karnataka to seek Central aid

The State government will seek the Centre’s assistance in tackling the elephant menace in the Malnad region, particularly in Hassan and Kodagu districts.

A delegation from the State will submit a “list of rogue elephants” to the Union government for it to take appropriate action to avoid man-elephant encounters in Karnataka.

Forest Minister C H Vijayashankar and Minister in charge of Hassan, V Somanna, on Thursday discussed the issue with farmers’ representatives from Hassan and the officials concerned, in Bangalore.

Vijayashankar told media persons that the elephant menace in areas close to forests had been going on unabated for the last 30 years. The government will appeal to the Centre to launch a programme to rehabilitate rogue elephants, he said.

He said his ministry would identify places for installing solar fencing and digging elephant-proof trenches to help curb elephant raids on agricultural fields.

The department will prepare an action plan to stop the menace completely in two years. “I assure farmers that the department will arrange for funds required for the project,” he said.

The minister said farmers had suffered crop losses because of constant attacks by wild elephants on farmlands. “The farmers get a meagre amount as compensation. The forest department will work out a proposal to review the compensation for crops destroyed by wild elphants, in the next budget.”

As many as 14 people and 15 elephants had died since 2007 in Hassan district alone. The government will interact with farmers who have settled in forest lands and convince them to clear encroachments, he said.

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