Elephant corridor in Malnad yet to become a reality

Elephant corridor in Malnad yet to become a reality

The decade-old demand for an elephant corridor in the Malnad region is yet to become a reality as the authorities concerned have not submitted any fresh proposal to the government.

There is a plan to set up an elephant corridor on around 15,000 acres of land adjoining Bisile reserve forest in Sakleshpur taluk, which includes 11,000 acres belonging to the Forest Department. The farmers have given their consent to part with the required 3,300 acres of additional lands, if the government provides fair compensation. But, no steps have been taken so far.

In 2014-15, the Forest department had prepared an estimate for Rs 274 crore for establishing the elephant corridor and had fixed Rs 8 lakh per acre as compensation for lands acquired from farmers.

But the farmers rejected the proposal as the government has given Rs 30 lakh per acre as compensation for lands acquired under Yettinahole project.

The farmers demanded the same amount as compensation. The government expressed its inability to meet their demand. It said it is awaiting funds from the Centre.

People in Hethuru hobli, on the fringes of the forest, are the worst affected due to the jumbo menace. They are willing to vacate the village, if the government is ready to rehabilitate them.

Deputy Conservator of Forest Shivaram Babu told DH that no proposal has been submitted recently to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), on the elephant corridor.

Malnad Janapara Horata Samiti president H A Kishore Kumar said, “The farmers are ready to spare their lands. The additional lands for the project can be purchased under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds. The Forest department, which had given a proposal to the Centre earlier, should submit a revised proposal.
The government should give at least Rs 20 lakh per acre,” he said.

According to an estimate by the department, there are around 40 elephants in Hethuru, Yasaluru region in Sakleshpur taluk, 10 to 20 elephants at Doddabetta, Kenchammana Hosakote areas. Even if an elephant corridor is set up at Hethuru, Aluru region will not be free from jumbo menace, say officials.