CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu reported a total of 7,562 incidents of crop-raiding by wild animals in the last three years. This was informed by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar in the Lok Sabha.
As per the data pertaining to 10 states released by the Union Minister, Tamil Nadu comes second only to Andhra Pradesh in the number of incidents relating to human-animal conflict.
While Andhra Pradesh recorded 7,589 incidents, in which crops on 5,543 acres of land were damaged, the extent of crop damage in Tamil Nadu was not available. Officials, however, felt the State too would have suffered similar damages considering the near-equivalent number of instances.
In the corresponding period, the State government distributed `4.41 crore as compensation to farmers who incurred losses due to crop raids. Even though the compensation for crop raids is paid by the State government, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change also provides financial assistance under centrally sponsored schemes.
Farmers meanwhile, complained that the process of availing compensation was tedious. They have to obtain certifications from VAO, the forest department and the horticulture department. They said the process was painstaking and the amount paid was too little compared to the actual losses suffered.
Steps towards reducing conflict
- The Commissioner of Land Administration cancelled the lease of 8,373.57 acres of forest land at Singampatti village of Tirunelveli district last year
- 27 resorts were sealed in the Nilgiris elephant corridors following a Supreme Court judgment
- The State government has notified only four out of the 17 elephant corridors that were identified by the Wildlife Trust of India
- Major crops raided by elephants – banana, sorghum, areca nut and coconut
- Untouched by elephants – marigold, sappota, pearl millet, jatropha and brinjal
- Experts say there is a need for change in choice of crops cultivated in the fringe areas
- Forest department will be culling wild boars in 11 forest divisions in the State. A GO has been issued on May 20