Bhubaneswar: With frequent cases of
elephants being electrocuted, the Orissa government on Saturday decided to spend Rs 20 crore from the Compensatory
Afforestation Fund Management funds for raising the height of
electric wires passing through elephant corridors.
This was decided at a meeting of Elephant Management
Plan chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who also holds
the forest and environment portfolio.
A joint monitoring committee comprising officials of
forest and environment and energy departments had been set up
to ensure that no elephant was killed due to electrocution.
Patnaik asked the forest and environment department to
hand over Rs 20 crore to energy department for executing the
work of increasing the height of electric wires.
With an estimated 10 elephants falling prey to the
poachers every year, the chief minister issued directions to
take strong action against poachers. "The meeting also decided
to impart special training to forest officials for protection
of elephants," a senior official said.
The population of elephants has increased from 1827 in
1999 to 1862 in 2010 in Orissa and elephants were seen in 28
of the 30 districts of the state, the officials said.
The state government had earlier identified 14
elephant corridors and nine more places have been located
where elephants roam round. An action plan for the elephant
corridors were being prepared for better management of the big
animals, a senior official said.
Meanwhile, the state government had increased the
exgratia from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh for the families whose
kins were killed by elephants.
Similarly, compensation amount for crop damage by
elephants had also gone up, said principal chief conservator
of forest (wildlife) PN Padhi.