SC asks Karnataka, TN to remove electric fences

SC asks Karnataka, TN to remove electric fences

The Supreme Court has directed Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states to remove at once electric fences and barbed wire, installed by the owners of resorts developed around the “critical” elephant corridors.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta passed the order for doing away with electric fences and barbed wire, that caused serious injuries to the tuskers passing through it.

“Electric fences and barbed wire, wherever installed by the resort owners, should be removed immediately,” the court ordered.

Particularly in Tamil Nadu, the court was earlier informed that there were large-scale constructions going on in the elephant corridors. It directed closure of 27 resorts raised in the Nilgiris.

The court, after directing that no construction would be permitted, ordered the collector of the Nilgiris to prepare a plan of action on how to identify the constructions that have been made, when they have been made and for what purpose the constructions are being utilised.

It also sought to know the plan of action with respect to the elephant corridors as explained in the report of the Elephant Task Force titled “Gajah” as well as the area described as “expanded corridors.”

The court was hearing a PIL by A Rangarajan and others, pending since 1996 for preservation of the elephant corridors.

It posted the matter for further hearing on November 28.

The Karnataka government earlier told the court that it was mooting to formulate special rules for encouraging private land holders around the elephant corridors and the protected areas to declare their land as “private conservancies.”

This would help in securing wider corridors for the long ranging mammals like elephants, gaurs, tigers, leopards, sambars etc, it said.

The forest department, along with Wildlife Trust of India, has secured Edearahalli-- Doddasampige Elephant Corridor by purchasing 25.37 acres of land during the year 2003. This corridor connects Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary with BRT Tiger Reserve.

“The land was transferred and registered in the name of forest department during 2009. The process of declaring the said area of 25.37 acres as a part of Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is under progress,” it said.

The state government further said that its forest department and the Wildlife Trust of India are pursuing to secure Chamarajnagar–Talamalai Elephant Corridor, which connects Talavadi range of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu and Punjur range of Biligiri Rangaswamy Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.

In a separate PIL filed by conservationist Prerna Singh Bindra, the court asked the Centre to resolve the human-animal conflict, especially involving elephants, by setting up a task force to ensure no violence was caused to the tusker. Besides, it directed for removing fireballs and spikes, used for driving away the elephants.

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