Jumbo deaths: Cesc, Forest department to work in tandem

Panel to check recurrence of incidents; laying of underground cables to be proposed

The Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (Cesc) Limited has woken up to take moves against the frequent deaths of wild elephants due to electrocution.

This follows the recent back-to-back incidents where four el­ephants were electrocuted at a co­ffee estate belonging to Boppanda Viju Ganapathi at Yadur village at Kannangala Gram Panchayat on Tuesday, prior to which, on June 14, two eleph­ants had died at the coffee estate of M Mani near Ontiangadi.

Cesc, along with the Forest Department, has decided to set up a coordination committee to check the recurrence of such incidents. Besides, as a permanent solution, it has been decided to submit a proposal to lay underground cables instead of the overhead lines to provide electricity.

The committee includes Chief Conservator of Forest (Kodagu Circle) Manoj Kumar; DCF (Madikeri Range) Suryasen; DCF Mariya Christu Raj, Cesc managing director Kiran, SE Ramachandra and executive engineer Somashekar, other than forest officials. The committee will meet once in three months and chalk out plans to bring down the incidents of man-animal conflicts, electricity mishaps that pose danger to wild life.

Manoj Kumar told DH, “A team, headed by executive engineer of Cesc (Vigilance wing) Rajanna, has been constituted to probe into the electrocution of elephants and submit a report on the exact reasons for the incidents as well as the measures to be taken henceforth. Cesc executive engineer Somashekar will be appointed as nodal officer.”

The officer said that on the other hand, a separate team of forest personnel has been tasked with inspection of rickety electricity lines passing through coffee estates and forest areas on the verge of snapping. The team includes forest officials Sripathi (Dakshina Kannada) and Chinnappa (North Kodagu), who will begin with their work from Thursday itself.

It has been also decided to strengthen the electricity lines in elephant corridors. Cesc executive engineer Somashekar said, “Kannangala electricity line with 11,000 KV capacity remains static even after the snapping of the line due to wind or rain. Up to 70% of the power line in the district covers coffee plantations and forest area,” he said, underlining the gravity of the situation.

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