BHUBANESWAR: The Wildlife Wing of Odisha Government has completed preparation of GIS maps of all 14 elephant corridors which were identified for development and protection.
On the basis of the maps, the Wildlife Wing will start installation of pillars to demarcate the corridors. The State Government has made an allocation of `5 crore in the budget for development of these corridors.
“We need to define the boundary of the corridors in the first place so that signages can be put up to inform the villagers to keep away from the migratory paths of the pachyderms,” Chief Wildlife Warden SS Srivastava said.
With the State witnessing serious man-elephant conflict, these corridors which connect the elephant habitats in and outside State have assumed importance. Most elephant corridors in Odisha are in a fragmented state.
The corridors include Similipal-Badampahar, Badampahar-Karida, Hadgada-Kulad, Telkoi-Pallahara, Deuli-Suliapada, Karei-Karampada, Kanheijena-Anantpur, Maulaganj-Jindimal-Anantpur, Buguda-Nayagarh, Nuagaon-Baruni, Barpahar-Tarabha-Kantamal, Tala-Kholagarh, Kotagarh-Chandrapur and Karlapat-Bharladani.
The Government targets to complete development of these corridors by 2016-17. The corridors are spread over an area of 870 sq km and are 420.8 km in length. There are three corridors which connect elephant habitats of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
Srivastava said plans have been chalked out to create water bodies in these corridors. In places where corridors are located on government forest land, plantations will be raised to provide adequate fodder for the long-ranging animals.
However, a major challenge before the Forest Department is to keep the migratory paths disturbance-free in stretches where the corridors are located on private land. The Wildlife Wing has already asked its field staff to hold consultations with local villagers and persuade them not to interfere with the jumbos during migration season and not adopt retaliatory methods.
While the corridors have no legal status as per the Central guidelines, the State Government will also not make any effort to acquire the private land.