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Many fear tuskers have been holed up in plantations
MP says he is working to make Kodagu ‘solar-powered district'
Mysore: A.H. Vishwanath, Mysore MP, on Tuesday, reviewed the progress of works taken up with the funds from the Union Government in Kodagu district.
The review meeting was held at Mayamudi town and discussed issues pertaining to Mayamudi, Thithimathi, and Devarapura gram panchayats in Virajpet taluk.
A majority of the panchayat members and the public complained about the elephant menace in their areas. They claimed that a number of elephants had been holed up in the plantations. Fear of elephant attacks made them stay indoors.
Crop loss caused by the elephants was the other issue brought to the notice of Mr. Vishwanath. He agreed that elephant management had posed a challenge to all. Fragmentation of the forests and encroachment of elephant corridors were some of the reasons for the trouble, he said, according to a source.
When Mr. Vishwanath wanted to know as to why only one wild elephant had been captured recently in Kodagu while permission had been granted for two, a forest official cited lack of resources from the government as the reason.
Mr. Vishwanath said that efforts were on to liaise with the Centre to seek funds to make Kodagu a “solar-powered district” keeping in view the district's potential. There was no dearth of funds for taking up drinking water projects under the National Rural Drinking Water Mission, he said.
Under the mission, all locations which received less than 55 LPCD (litres per capita per day) water would be picked for providing drinking water on priority. Mr. Vishwanath asked the officials concerned to speed up the electrification work of hamlets in the district being taken up under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyudeekaran Yojana (RGGVY).
Power for tribal people
He instructed the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) officials and the Panchayat Raj Engineering wing of the zilla panchayat to coordinate efforts to provide electric connections to the tribal people in their hadis (settlements) at Karekandi, Jungle Hadi, and Aayirasuli hadi in the panchayat limits of Mayamudi, Thithimathi, and Devarapura. The next date of meeting involving Kanur, Kutta, T. Shettigeri and Birunani panchayats would be announced soon.
C.S. Arun Machaiah, former MLC, told The Hindu over telephone that he would urge the Government to earmark the present tea plantation area at T. Shettigeri to grow elephant fodder to minimise the man-elephant conflict. The lease agreement of the tea plantations held by a corporate would expire in 2013, Mr. Machaiah said. The elephant menace had increased in Kodagu because of the encroachment of their corridors, particularly in places such as Kutta and Makutta, he said.
Apart from Mr. Machaiah, Kodagu District Congress Committee president B.T. Pradeep, zilla panchayat members Sarita Poonacha and Prathyu, local Congress leaders, presidents and PDOs of the three gram panchayats and officials, attended the meeting.
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