Herds of blackbucks raid agricultural fields in Dharwad district

Every morning, villagers in and around Kundgol are forced to visit their farms to drive away the blackbucks grazing their fields.
Blackbucks in the fields of Kundgol
Blackbucks in the fields of Kundgol

HUBBALLI: Herds of blackbucks have been spotted on the outskirts of Hubballi in Kundgol posing a threat to crops. The farmers say the Forest Department is restricting itself to compensating them, which the villagers say is insufficient and not worth the value of loss incurred.

Every morning, villagers in and around Kundgol are forced to visit their farms to drive away the blackbucks grazing their fields.

The issue which was limited to Haveri and Gadag region has now entered Hubballi where a herd numbering at least 50 are feasting here. “It has been a year now, we are seeing them in the fields. They eat whatever we cultivate here. They can be seen in large numbers in Haveri and Gadag and even on Navalgund roads. At the sight of any human being, they run away only to return the next morning,” said Basavraj Yogappanavar, a farmer here.

The antelopes are sighted in farms in Gudenkatti, Aeri Narayanapura, Mullalli, Benakanahalli, Yerguppi, Nagarahalli, Nerthi and other villages. The farmers here cultivate green gram, soya bean, groundnut, cow pea, corn, vegetables and other crops. These blackbucks come in large herds and do not even spare the newly planted and sprouting crop. We have brought this to the notice of the Forest Department, but there has been no effort to stop them,” said a farmer Raju M Malligouda. We had a bad year in 2023 due to drought. We were hoping to recover our losses this year and even borrowed crop loans to cultivate, but the loss is inevitable now,” he said.

Another farmer Sakrappa V Kammar said that since the officials are not doing much, the farmers themselves are trying to scare away the crop-raiding ungulates. “We have put up scarecrows everywhere and are using empty beer cans and bottles to make noise and drive them away, but they have proved to be temporary measures,” he said.

Yogappanavar said that, frustrated with the inactive forest department, the farmers of these villages managed to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during his visit to Hubballi and requested him to do something. “He asked the Forest Department officials to look into the matter. As a follow-up, the officials even visited the villages and inspected the agriculture fields.

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