By N.R. Pura
A herd of wild elephants have entered the farmlands in the villages in Chikkagrahara and caused extensive damage to crops. The elephants have been damaging crops for the last nine days. As a result, coffee and arecanut trees worth lakh of rupees have been lost.
Farmer C K Lakshman Gowda of Aduvalli in Chikkagrahara said “I had cultivated arecanut and coffee on four acre land. An elephant and two calves have damaged around 600 arecanut trees along with coffee plants from December 16. I have incurred a loss of over Rs 10 lakh. In fact, the elephants have damaged fence laid at a cost of Rs one lakh.”
He said “elephants had damaged crops on three acre land 15 years ago. As a result, I had to borrow loan of Rs four lakh from a bank and re planted arecanut trees. I was expecting good crop this year and wanted to repay all the pending loans and lead a happy life.”
“I saw elephants damaging crops right in front of my eyes. On an average, they have uprooted 30 to 40 arecanut trees in a day. I tried to chase elephants by bursting crackers. All my efforts went in vain,” he said.
Forest department officials, JD(S) State unit Vice President H T Rajendra, Malnad Development Board B C Geetha have promised of distributing compensation for the loss.
“I had reared the trees like my children. If the government fails to come forward to help, then I have no other option but to end my life,” said farmer.
JD(S) taluk President Hosoor Suresh said the government should announce compensation for the loss of crops.
Solar fence should be laid in villages situated on the periphery of the forest to prevent the entry of elephants. Trenches should be dug inside the forest.
Farmers of Aaduvalli, Chikkagrahara, Hennangi, Bellangi, Hosoor are in distress with the wild elephants damaging the crops.
Koppa Forest Division DCF Malathi Priya said “there is shortage of fund and staff to check wild elephant menace. A proposal to lay solar fence has been submitted to the government. The State government has increased the amount of compensation to be paid for the farmers. The department provides subsidy for the farmers to lay solar fence.”