By A. Ramamurthy Raju
CHITTOR: With the erection of solar fencing and digging up of elephant trenches going on a slow pace and the forest fringe villages continuously coming under attack by the wild tuskers, the forest officials are mulling the traditional way to keep the elephants away from straying into villages.
With the traditional ways proving a success in neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states, the forest officials are creating awareness among the people of forest fringe villages to adopt the same.
Officials said they are creating awareness among the general public to tie a jute ropes across the village boundaries to the forest. The heavy jute ropes have to be tied in three layers (one above the other) as a fencing across the borders of the forests.
“Chilli powder stuffed in cloth packets will be tied at regular spaces of the rope and once an elephant tries to cross the tightly tied rope, the chilli powder from the packets get sprinkled into the air. This blinds the elephants temporarily and it will not move forward into the villages,” an officer said adding the roars of the elephant at that time will also alert the villagers who can then chase away the animals back into the forests.
This method is being implemented by forest fringe villagers in TN and Karnataka, officials said adding that it had proved to be a success in keeping the tuskers away from agricultural fields.
The officials, however, are also intensifying efforts to come up with permanent measures like erecting solar fencing.
Chittoor East DFO Ravisankar said they have erected solar fencing on a stretch of 30 kilometres of Andhra-Karnataka forest area. The government had earlier proposed to erect solar fencing in 65 kilometre stretch of the state borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu forest borders.
“We have to erect fencing in Tamil Nadu-AP border areas at V Kota and Ramakuppam mandals,” he said adding tenders have been called for erecting fencing at a 20 kilometre of forest areas in the two mandals.
The menace of tuskers straying into villages, particularly during summer in search of food and water, is high in Gudipalle, Shantipuram, Ramakuppam and V Kota mandals in Kuppam constituency as elephants from forests of Karnataka and TN reserve forests enter villages damaging crops. In 2013, it was decided to erect solar fencing.