Respond to elephant task force report: HC

Respond to elephant task force report: HC

The High Court on Tuesday directed the State Government to file its response to the elephant task force report submitted by the High Court appointed Karnataka Elephant Task Force.

Hearing a suo motu petition, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna  has adjourned the matter with a direction to find solution to the power theft by farmers which is resulting in the death of jumbos.

Counsel B R Deepak and Counsel Ravindra Kamath, members of the High Court appointed task force in their submission explained the bench about how the farmers are resorting to power theft to protect their crops from straying jumbos. Mentioning that this is leading to increasing deaths of animals, they said that the forest department has failed to book complaints against the culprits. However, the Government counsel R G Kolle refuted the allegations stating that there were instances where the forest officials too have booked cases.

The duo in their submission said that the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) has directed to increase the height of electric poles to 25 feet around the periphery of forests where elephant movement has been identified. When former Forest official C H Basappanavar in his submission said that the elephant can reach upto 20 feet if it lifts its trunk. However the division bench refused to buy the argument.

The counsels also submitted that despite the forest officials being vested with powers to book cases against people for elephant deaths no cases have been filed against any persons.

Survey by Cesc

CESC M D , C Shikha, who appeared before the court said that the department has undertaken a survey to increase the heights of the electric poles around periphery of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. “We have covered about 14 subdivisions and we have plans to increase the height of electric poles.”

The bench also suggested the power supply company should ensure that the farmers will adhere to certain norms before going for electric fencing of farms. “ The fence wire should be in such a manner that it should break up if they try to connect it to a high voltage load,” the bench said. The bench also directed to call for a meeting and submit a report in this connection.