Villagers pour out 'elephantine' woes

It's five days since we stepped out of our homes due to fear of wild elephant attack, say villagers in Mudigere taluk

Villagers pour out 'elephantine' woes

When Deputy Conservator of Forest Raviraj Narayan visited Sachin Nagar in Handaguli village, in the wake of wild elephant menace in the region, on Sunday, he was greeted with a sea of grievances by villagers.

“It has been five days since we stepped out of our houses. Children have not gone to school ever since the elephants gained entry into our village. We are scared to go near our wells to get water. We stay awake all night holding chimneys in fear of elephant attack. As we hear the sound of dog barking, our heart beat rises. Please chase away these elephants...” The villagers literally pleaded before the DCF, to help them live without any fear of wild elephants.

The elephant herd which had entered Heggaravalli eight days ago, has now gained entry to Sachin Nagar via Uduse, Anajuru, Pyatehithlu and Jenubailu.

Since last five days, they have taken shelter in a forest near the plantation belonging to Jayaramegowda. They stay in the forest throughout the day and enter plantations at night. The herd has destroyed coffee, cardamom, banana, bamboo plantations valued at lakhs of rupees.

The herd comprising of three elephants, has also damaged silver plants and coconut saplings on their way.

Speaking to mediapersons during the visit, DCF Raviraj Narayan said that the department is trying to chase away these elephants since eight days. But, as the elephants will have to cross Hemavathi and Japavathi rivers to move towards other forest, they are returning after going to a certain distant. Rise in the water-level of both the rivers has been an obstacle in chasing away elephants. The department will chase away elephants in next two days, by stopping the people and vehicular movement in the village. Tamed elephants will be brought to chase wild elephants, in case of necessity, he said.

When asked about providing compensation to farmers who have incurred crop loss, he said the department has received several complaints of crop loss in large quantity.

Applications on crop loss will be received from farmers and compensation will be given, he assured.

Villager Shanmukha said that villagers had cultivated banana plantation based on the information given by the agriculture and horticulture department which had said the region does not face problem from wild elephants. Banana has been cultivated in over 30 acres of land and in some places grown plants have begun to bear fruits. If the elephants, enter banana plantations, farmers will incur heavy loss, he said.

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