New Work Hours for Nilgiris Estate Hands (India, Tamil Nadu)


By Prasath Selvaraj, Express News Service

Date Published
UDHAGAMANDALAM:To avoid human-animal conflict, the work hours for estate workers has been changed in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks of Nilgiris district. They shall now work between 8 am and 5 pm. This step has been taken following three deaths by elephant trampling within the last fortnight. The District Collector has also asked the residents of the taluks to avoid venturing alone into the forest areas.

This year, Nilgiris has witnessed the death of 15 people due to elephant trampling with Gudalur and Pandalur taluks alone reporting ten deaths. District Collector P Shankar told Express that most deaths due to elephant trampling were reported either early in the morning or when the person was walking alone in the forest area during night time. He asked the people of Nilgiris district to avoid walking alone in the forest area during early morning and night time. He also asked them to completely avoid using two-wheelers within the forest areas.
Estate workers have been the worst affected as they leave home early to reach their work areas. To avoid this, the administration has fixed regular working hours as between 8am and 5pm. A special committee has been appointed to enforce this new rule. The Collector said that an alarm system will soon be established in the area for warning people about elephant movements nearing 200 metres of human settlements. An SMS  system, similar to the one in Valparai, will be soon extended to Gudalur and Pandalur taluks.
These decisions were announced after a meeting to discuss the reasons for man-animal was organised by the District administration here on Tuesday. At the meeting, resolutions such as rejuvenation of elephant trenches and a plan to submit a proposal to increase the amount of relief for victims’ kin from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh were taken.
Collector Shankar said Forest Department officials, local body representatives and NGOs will meet every two months to discuss the human-animal conflicts.