Representatives of more than 2,000 families in villages surrounding Srimadurai near Thorapalli in Gudalur petitioned the District Collector during the weekly grievances redress meeting on Monday demanding to drive away wild elephants that were raiding crops in their area.
One of the petitioners, K. R. Sunil, said that wild elephants roamed near their homes from evening till early morning, forcing residents to shut themselves inside their homes after dark. Though the forest department had promised to dig deeper trenches and put up solar fences to stop elephants raiding their crops, no such steps were taken, they said.
After protests near the Thorapalli forest check post, the forest department deployed kumkis to drive away the elephants once, they added. However, the wild elephants had since returned and the residents claimed that they feared for their safety.
They have also stated that they would stage another protest in front of the Thorapalli forest check post on July 31, unless efforts were taken to drive the elephants away from near their houses.
In a separate petition, 50 families who were displaced during the 2009 floods in the Nilgiris and housed in temporary shelters at Ketti requested the District Collector to sanction permanent houses for them. They also requested the authorities to cut down the eucalyptus trees surrounding their homes that were at risk of falling on their houses.