PERAMBALUR: Maize farmers of Perali and Sitheli villages in Perambalur district are a worried lot, thanks to herds of deer regularly damaging their crops for the past few months.
According to sources, maize crops were raised on over 2,000 acres in Perali, Sitheli, Maruvathur, Othiyam and Arumadal. These villages are surrounded by about five acres of forest, which have hundreds of deer and wild boar.
Farmers said animals straying into the fields bordering the forest in search of food and water have been damaging maize crops for the past three months. Maize crops on over 100 acres near the forest have been completely damaged and farmers had to plant them again.
Though complaints have been sent to the Chief Minister Special Cell and forest officials, no action has reportedly been taken.
Speaking to TNIE, A Venkatesan, a farmer from Perali, said, "In August, I planted maize on my three acres of land in Sitheli at a cost of Rs 15,000. The crops grew well, but the deers destroyed all of them, pushing me into huge loss. The damaged crops are of no use. So, I had to destroy my remaining crop and plant maize again 45 days ago. However, the deer once again damaged a part of my crops. This is giving me too much stress. Last week, I slept in my field for three days to keep the deer away. I cannot continue like this. The authorities should inspect my field and provide sufficient compensation."
R Ayyasamy, another farmer from Perali, said, "I planted maize and Proso millet on my two acres in Perali. Both crops have been damaged by deer. This problem has been going on for the past five years. Some farmers have put up wired fences. I need at least ` one lakh to put up one, which I can't afford. The district administration should intervene and set up a fence around the forest and set up a deer sanctuary. Authorities must also ensure that the animals do not stray out of the forest in search of food or water."
When TNIE contacted, an official from Perambalur Forest Department said, "At present, we do not have the funds to erect fences in these areas. However, we will take action on this issue."