By Seema Sharma
DEHRADUN : The state government recently commissioned Rs 73 lakh for building walls at areas from where wild elephants usually stray into nearby villages. The high-rise walls will be erected to ensure safety for both villagers and the wild animals.
The money has been allocated to the Shivalik circle of the forest department. Bhuvan Chandra, conservator of forests of the Shivalik circle said they planned to build walls to prevent elephants from intruding into human settlement areas. "Elephants are sometimes responsible for injuring or killing villagers when they enter areas inhabited by villagers. They also get into the fields, thereby damaging crops. Such instances enrage the locals. And sometimes they take law into their own hands by poisoning or electrocuting the animal. Building walls will ensure safety for both the villagers and the wild elephants," he said.
A 4-km solar fencing will also be erected on the boundary of the Haridwar forest division, which is a part of the Shivalik circle. Chandra said the boundary will get electrified by Friday afternoon. If the elephants come into contact with it, the fence will generate a minor shock to deter elephants from entering certain areas. Another 7.5-km wall from Salla to Tilakpuri ghat of the Luxar range will be repaired.
The Rishikesh range of Haridwar forest division is also set to have high-rise walls to prevent elephants from transgressing into human habitation. One of the officials at the forest division said that this region was facing the same problem as well. Moreover, he said, left-over food thrown by the villagers has been attracting elephants. He also said the sugarcane fields were quickly becoming a favourite haunt for the wild elephants here. "It makes it necessary for walls to be erected at certain strategic locations," he said.
Besides, Kotri range of Kotdwar forest division and Kalsi forest, both fall under the Shivalik circle, will also have safety walls erected for similar purpose.