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Thread: Karnataka plans Rs 109 crore project to tackle man-elephant conflict

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    Default Karnataka plans Rs 109 crore project to tackle man-elephant conflict

    Karnataka plans Rs 109 crore project to tackle man-elephant conflict
    Manu Aiyappa, TNN | Jul 15, 2013, 06.49 PM IST

    BANGALORE: Karnataka government has prepared a Rs 109 crore comprehensive project to contain man-animal conflict in the backdrop of the increasing menace of wild elephants.

    Forest minister B Ramanatha Rai told the legislative assembly during question hour that the five-year project proposal is under government consideration. The districts proposed to be covered under the project are Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Ramanagara, Tumkur, Dakshina Kannada, Belgaum and Dharwad.

    Several members, including Ravisubramanya L A (BJP) who raised the issue, expressed concern over the rising menace of wild elephants, human casualties and trail of destruction.

    Rai listed the steps taken by the government to prevent the menace of wild elephants, including building trenches, solar fences and appointment of temporary watchers to address the issue. He said steps are being taken to grow bamboo and varieties of grass to meet food shortage, and to desilt tanks in forest areas so that elephants get drinking water round the year.

    "There is no proposal before the government regarding implementation of an elephant corridor project to prevent the menace of wild elephants", Rai said.

    Deemed forests

    To another question from C T Ravi (BJP), he said said state government is reviewing the report on 10 lakh hectares of deemed forests. Some opposition members pointed out that the report is erroneous as it includes areas with dense population as deemed forests. It was also suggested that the forest and revenue departments conduct a joint survey to demarcate forest and revenue lands for clarity on the issue.
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Man-elephant conflict happens because of various reasons. Elephants cover a large area. Unfortunately, the entire area that elephants roam around is not protected as reserve forests, sanctuaries or national parks.

    Since we haven't protected their entire habitat, it is inevitable that people will come in contact with elephants.

    Traditional communities knew about elephants. The settlers who have no knowledge of elephants panic when they see elephants passing through the place.

    Elephants also love nutritious plants and fruits like paddy, plantains etc. Most of the people don't realise that and grow crops and fruits preferred by elephants.

    Announcing 100 crores to reduce Man-Elephant conflict is grossly insufficient as this will not eradicate the main problem. The elephant corridors are blocked. Unless the Government is serious in ensuring that the elephant corridors are free from human habitations, this problem will continue.

    Also, our forests have lost their diversity. Can the Government plant several hundred species of plants and trees chosen by the elephants for food? Growing bamboo, planting fruit bearing trees etc will help a bit. However, the weed infestations have resulted in loss of cover for various grasses.

    The areas for elephant corridors have already been mapped. If the Government can come up with money to acquire the land for elephant corridors, then a lot of these conflicts will get removed.

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