Karnataka’s jumbos may soon be roaming in the forests of Chhattisgarh. In major relief for the state government, which has been facing man-animal conflicts, the Chhattisgarh government has come forward to accept elephants from Karnataka.
Recently, Chhattisgarh forest minister Mahesh Gagda had met Karnataka forest minister Ramanath Rai in this regard. The state government has responded positively to the Chhattisgarh government’s offer.
After meeting with MLAs and department officials here on Tuesday, Mr Rai told reporters, “Karnataka has over 6000 elephants and has been facing the wild elephant menace in Hassan and Madikeri. Due to conflicts, many people were killed. To prevent this, the government is mulling handing over elephants to other states”, he said.
“I held a discussion with Mr Gagda. There will be no legal hurdles in handing over the elephants. A discussion is going on and after discussing the pros and cons, we will take a decision”, Mr Rai added.
To contain the man-elephant conflict in Mysuru, Hassan and Madikeri districts, the state government has decided to evolve short term and long term action plans. After evolving the action plan, the government will review it every three months to check its implementation.
Department officials and MLAs have suggested a short term plan immediately to contain the elephant menace since wild elephants have killed people in the state.
In the long term, the state government plans to plant fruits trees in some parts of Rajiv Gandhi National Park at Nagarahole. “In place of teakwood, we are planning to plant fruits trees in Nagarahole, it will help elephants migrate in search of food. To plant fruits trees, forest department will cut teakwood in a few stretches of Nagarahole. The department has also planned Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT), wherever necessary,” Mr Rai explained, adding that the government has decided to strengthen the rapid action force too.