High tension line: Wildlife might take a hit

Environmentalists predict increase in man-animal conflict

The high-tension transmission line is now hanging like a sword of Damocles on wildlife in Kodagu district, which has been identified by the Unesco as one of the sensitive bio-diversity regions.

The 400 KV high-tension line in South Kodagu will pass through forests and coffee estates. The forests in Kodagu is known for its rich flora and fauna and if the trees are felled to facilitate the work on the high-tension transmission line, animals and birds will lose their habitat, said Coorg Wildlife Society president C P Muthanna.

“Elephants, tiger, leopard, fox, deers, etc are found in Nagarahole sanctuary situated in South Kodagu. If trees are felled inside coffee estates, where will the animals take shelter? With no option, they might end up entering villages,” he added.

Due to shortage of food and water inside the forest, wild animals like elephants have already started entering paddy fields, coffee estates in search of food.

The elephant corridor passes through Nagarahole sanctuary to Bramhagiri ranges near Kutta. The high-tension transmission will pass through the elephant corridor. If the work on the high-tension line is taken up, it will affect the movement of elephants. There are chances of more human-elephant conflict, he added.

“Ultra sound signal flash light will be used in the high-tension transmission line. The flash light is likely to disturb elephants,” Muthanna added.

Elephant expert Sukumaran will head a technical committee constituted by the State government to explore an alternative route. He had written a letter to Union Minister Veerappa Moily in January itself to charge the route, Muthanna added.

Power grid clarifies

Power Grid Corporation of India Chief Manager C D Kishor said: “We have taken enough measures to look into the safety of wild animals. Several elephants had died following electrocution in the recent years. To ensure that the trunks of elephants do not touch the line, the wire will be laid 15 metre above the ground. Normally, electric wires are laid nine metre above the ground. Keeping in mind the movement of wild elephants, it has been decided to lay wires 15 metre above the ground. There will be no problem to the elephant corridor.”

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