Out of total 23 cases of unnatural death of elephants reported in the state during 2012-15, as many as 16 cases were due to electrocution, according to Comptroller and Auditor General of India report on Economic Sector for the year ended March 2015.
The report which citied the data provided by the Forest Department said 10 cases of electrocution was in four tested checked divisions of Coimbatore, Erode, Hosur and Sathymangalam.
The government agreed that loss of animals was due to illegal tapping of electricity in the agricultural farm lands to prevent damage to agricultural crops among others. The government also said that necessary legal actions were initiated against the land owners who illegally tapped electricity, according to the report.
The CAG also pointed out that delay in notifying elephant corridors resulted in inadequate migratory passage to the elephants paving way for conflict and loss of human life and property.
As per the report, in 2005 Wildlife Trust of India identified 12 elephant corridors in the State, which was approved by the Forest Department. However, only one corridor (Sigur plateau) was notified in 2010 on the basis of recommendations of the Expert Committee constituted by Government of Tamil Nadu.
“Government stated that migratory passage involved in the notified corridor could not be acquired due to legal appeals against the orders. However, the fact remains that the other corridors were yet to be notified even after 10 years from their identification,” CAG said.
The CAG noted that Forest Department had also initiated measures like Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) among others to mitigate the Human-Animal conflict. It also said that establishment of EPT was found to effective in preventing the movement of elephants from the forest to farm lands and habitations, however there were lapses in execution. The government sanctioned and established for 1435 km during 2012-15, said the report.
During the period 2012-15, Tamil Nadu government sanctioned 79 per cent of the requirement proposed. As against the proposal of 233 km of EPT during 2014-15 in nine divisions, only 81 km of EPT (35 per cent of proposal) was sanctioned and established in six divisions, despite increase in cases of human injury and crop damages, according to the report.
The CAG also noted no proposals for EPT were made in Sathyamangalam Division and O’valley Range under Gudalur Division despite increase in conflict cases. The government replied that the proposals were restricted considering the availability of funds and man power for execution of works.