Odisha Govt Plans To Involve Communities For Solar Fencing In Elephant-Impacted Areas
Bhubaneswar: The State government has come up with a new scheme involving communities in installation of solar fencing facilities in elephant-dominated regions to prevent jumbos from straying into human settlements.
Under the new scheme, the communities who are keen on solar fencing will have to pay 10% of the total cost of the work.
“We had proposed the government to involve the local communities in the solar fencing programme. With the approval of proposal, the government has introduced a new idea under which local communities can demand solar fencing and will have to contribute 10% of the total cost for the same while remaining cost will be borne by the forest department,” Chief Wildlife Warden Sashi Paul said. The scheme will be rolled out from April 1, he added.
Paul said that reduction in cases of man-animal conflicts especially those involving the elephants has been on the top focus of forest department. To keep the pachyderms away from human settlement, solar fencing was much effective. But, its maintenance is a major headache for the forest officials, Paul pointed out.
“We are in touch with Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) which has been entrusted with the task of fencing. The agency will be empanelled for maintenance work of the fencing for a period of five years.
The new scheme will benefit mostly the horticulture farmers or the orchard owners who mostly bear the brunt of wild elephants. “An orchard owner can fence his land under the new scheme for which he will be given 50% subsidy,” he added.
Orchards are places where elephants love to stay during the days and straying villagers encounter the jumbos leading to fatal accidents. Odisha, which has been in news for growing elephant deaths, has also drawn up a new monitoring plan for protection of the pachyderms.
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)