Clear slush and maintain elephant-proof trenches, Dharmapuri farmers urge forest department- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

DHARMAPURI: Farmers in Palacode have appealed to the forest department to renovate elephant-proof trenches, stating elephant intrusion into farmlands has increased. Earlier this week, a herd of four elephants was spotted wandering in farmlands in the village close to the forest area. Even as forest department is taking efforts to control the elephant movement, farmers said there are not enough trenches to keep the animals away.

S Kannan, a farmer in Belrampatti, said, “In the last few months, the number of elephants in the vicinity has increased substantially. At a time two to three elephants enter villages, attracted by paddy cultivation and lay waste to several acres of paddy crop. The forest department must strengthen surveillance.”
R Kumaresan, a farmer in Echampallam, said, “In the past ten days, a herd of four elephants has set up camp here and we have been coordinating with the forest department to chase them away. We have requested the forest department to create elephant-proof trenches.”

Kumaresan added, “Three years ago, the department created trenches, but due to the continuous rain, they are filled with rocks and mud. Forest officials must clear them of the slush and renovate these trenches.”
Speaking to TNIE, forest ranger M Natraj said, “In the last six months elephant movement has increased, this is part of their migration. Palacode, Pennagaram and Hogenakkal are part of the elephant corridor and it is not uncommon to see large herds. Right now, we are trying to ward off a makhna elephant, two adult elephants, and a calf that are destroying crops.”

Natraj added, “We are working to build Elephant-Proof Trenches. But due to the elephant movement, this work will begin in a day or two. As far as crop loss is concerned, farmers can apply for compensation. So far over 100 farmers have been provided with over Rs 5-6 lakh as compensation.”