K'taka Govt prepares Rs 109-cr project to address man-animal conflict

K'taka Govt prepares Rs 109-cr project to address man-animal conflict

Karnataka government has prepared a Rs 109 crore comprehensive project to contain man-animal conflict in the backdrop of the increasing menace of wild elephants.

Minister of Forests, Environment and Ecology, B Ramanatha Rai told the Legislative Assembly during question hour that the five-year project proposal is under Government consideration.

The districts proposed to be covered under the project are Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Ramanagara, Tumkur, Dakshina Kannada, Belgaum and Dharwad.

Several members, including Ravisubramanya L A (BJP) who raised the issue, expressed concern over the rising menace of wild elephants, human casualties and trail of destruction.

Chief Minister Siddarmaiah said in his budget speech last week that Rs 30 crore would be earmarked for long-term measures to address the man-animal conflict.

Rai listed the steps taken by the government to prevent the menace of wild elephants, including building trenches, solar fences and appointment of temporary watchers to address the issue.

He said steps are being taken to grow bamboo and varieties of grass to meet food shortage, and to desilt tanks in forest areas so that elephants get drinking water round the year.

"There is no proposal before the government regarding implementation of an elephant corridor project to prevent the menace of wild elephants", Rai said.

Meanwhile, the Minister, responding to a question from C T Ravi (BJP) said as per the report of an experts' committee, the State has a total of more than 10 lakh hectares of deemed forests. The Government is reviewing the report.

Some opposition members pointed out that the report is erroneous as it includes areas with dense population as deemed forests. It was also suggested that the forest and revenue departments conduct a joint survey to demarcate forest and revenue lands for clarity on the issue.

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