MYSORE: The Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CESCOM) plans to set up a special squad to make surprise visits to inspect fields and act tough against farmers drawing power illegally from power lines.
This follows the increase in instances of man-animal conflict and reported electrocution of elephants in farms falling on the forest fringes of Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts.
Greens were irked at the elephant deaths due to electrocution that took place last week. The problem has two aspects: elephant population is on the rise in Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks and Biligiri Ranga Wildlife Sanctuary. However, farmers keen to protect their crops are illegally drawing power for their fences from main feeder lines.
The forest department has formally lodged complaints with the local police station, conducted postmortem and buried the jumbos.
Recalling the cases of electrocution of elephants near Yadeyala, Gumballai and Begur villages, Nanjundaswamy, who resides near Yadeyala, blames both the forest and power supply departments for the same.
He added that lack of awareness on legal implications of elephant deaths and negligible crop compensation is also contributing to the scenario.
CESCOM MD P Bore Gowda said that they are ready to join hands with the forest department to constitute squads, conduct surprise raids and book cases against stealing power, in addition to creating awareness.
Project Elephant director Ajay Misra said that the forest department has booked cases on farmers and land owners for electrocuting the elephants. He added that they are coordinating with CESCOM. “We have seen to it that solar fences erected by the forest department are well maintained; trenches will be dug.”
Mishra said that the forest department has done its best to chase away the wild elephants.
Meanwhile, the government has paid Rs 5.5 crore as compensation for crop loss.