Bangalore Mirror

Date Published

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Unable to move anywhere, it was almost a harrowing experience for a herd of seven elephants along the border of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While the officials of both states had locked horns over the border, the elephants, with hardly any fodder, were holed up inside a tiny forest patch for over two days. However, Saturday turned out to be their liberation day with the Andhra Pradesh forest officials agreeing to allow the herd to pass through their jurisdiction towards Tamil Nadu. Finally, after three days of bureaucratic wrangling, the elephants will march further on their way towards Krishnagiri forests of Tamil Nadu.

Fearing a rampage and widespread destruction to crops and human settlements across Kuppam, which is represented by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, the forest officials at Chittoor refused to provide right of way to these elephants through Ramakuppam forest area close to Kuppam town. Karnataka Forest Department officials too had no other option but to drive these elephants further into their corridor. The local people across Chittoor district too burnt tyres and lit fires to scare the elephants. The KFD officials’ best efforts to convince their counterparts in Andhra too showed no results. BM had reported the impasse in its edition dated December 24, 2016.

However, with the issue snowballing into a major controversy, the Andhra Pradesh officials too loosened their stand following several rounds of convincing, which included high-level talks between Chief Wildlife Wardens of both the states and Deputy Commissioners of both Kolar and Chittoor districts. Subsequently, a video conferencing of Chittoor DC with forest officials and further direction resolved the issue. With AP forest officials agreeing to admit the elephants, the officials have launched an elephant drive since Saturday evening.

Sources in Kolar Gold Fields told Bangalore Mirror that Kolar Deputy Commissioner Dr Trilok Chandra spoke to the Deputy Commissioner of Chittoor district and appraised him about the situation in KGF, Bangarpet and requested him to convince the forest department officials to allow these elephants through Andhra Pradesh to march further towards their destination. Giving details about the day-long activities, VS Ramalinge Gowda, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kolar, told BM that even the Chief Wildlife Wardens of both states too had a discussion over the issue, and finally a directive was issued to the local forest officials.

“After repeated requests by our higher officers, the Andhra Chief Wildlife Warden has also issued necessary directions to the field staff and they too were convinced by our argument that elephants be allowed to march on their known track. If they are allowed to pass through the corridor, there will not be much disturbance. Hence, they have agreed to admit the herd,” Gowda said.

Sources in KFD told Mirror that out of the seven elephants, one had conceived. “As the elephant was carrying, the others in the herd were protective of her and hence were gripped in panic. When people began to torch tyres and light fires, they turned angry and attacked two people. Otherwise, they would have passed peacefully. It is relief that Andhra will allow these elephants to pass through,” another officer said.