BHUBANESWAR: With man-elephant conflict in Odisha continuing unabated, the State Government has decided to take up fodder plantation in 1,250 acre of land in 2020-21 fiscal to prevent the gentle giants from straying into human habitations in search of food.
The situation was at its worst towards the end of the 2019-20 fiscal as more than 10 human lives were lost in elephant attack in the last one and a half months. Death due to elephant attack has already crossed 75 and the number may increase further in the coming days if preventive measures are not taken now. More than 70 elephants have also lost their lives in 2019-20 due to poaching, electrocution, accident and other reasons.
Lack of fodder and water, and increase in cropping areas surrounding forests are considered to be the key reasons behind the elephants frequently approaching human habitations. Forest and Environment department officials said the fruit-bearing trees will be planted in more than 500 hectare (ha) of land under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme and Rs 803.65 crore has been approved for 2020-21.
The fund will be spent for block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald hill and fruit-bearing plantation, maintenance and plantation for wildlife management.A senior officer of the department said apart from carrying out the plantation drive, a project will be taken up for revival of 200 water bodies in forest areas and elephant corridors to ensure adequate water for the wild animals under the scheme.
1,250 acre for plantation
500 ha for fruit-bearing trees
200 water bodies to be revived
Rs 803.65 cr approved for 2020-21
75 human lives lost
70 elephants dead