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Friday, May 23, 2008

Solar fencing to tackle elephant menace in three districts

Water bodies, fodder fields to be developed inside forest areas

Solar fencing in Chittoor district will

cover a distance of 17.5 km


A FILE PHOTO

PACHYDERM PROBLEMS: Steps are being taking to prevent wild elephants from straying into human habitations.

TIRUPATI: The rampant intrusion of wild elephants of late into human habitations in the forest fringe villages in the State has assumed a menacing dimension, according to Minister for Forests S. Vijayarama Raju.

Interacting with media persons after inaugurating the ‘Nature School’ in the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park here on Thursday, the Minister conceded that some of the districts in the State indeed faced the peculiar problem and explained the measures being taken to tackle the same.

He said the government sanctioned in all 50 km of solar-powered fencing at all vulnerable points spread over Chittoor, Kadapa and Nellore districts and pointed out that the fencing in Chittoor district would cover 17.5 km.

He said in addition water bodies and fodder fields would also be developed inside the forest areas wherever possible to prevent the wild animals especially the elephants from straying into human habitations in search of food and water.

As to the payment of compensation to farmers for the crops and orchards lost and/or damaged by the tuskers, Mr. Raju said the compensation was as follows: sugarcane: Rs. 2500 per acre, paddy: Rs. 2,000 and mango etc Rs. 200 per tree.

The Minister said that joint teams comprising officials of the agriculture, horticulture and revenue departments were constituted to assess the damage and ensure payment of compensation to the affected farmers.

Dharna

The Minister also promised to look into the demands of a delegation of agitating ‘animal keepers’ working on daily wage basis demanding regularisation of their services. They also sought payment of time-scale on par with their counterparts working in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.

Among those who participated in the ‘Nature School’ opening were MLAs -- M. Venkatramana and P. Ramachandra Reddy --Principal CCF K.S. Rao, CCF Mallikharjuna Rao and zoo curator Chandrasekhara Pillai.

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