October 9, 2016
The Coimbatore division of the Forest Department (FD) has asked farmers to claim damages in response to farmers’ demands for compensation for crops destroyed by wild animals.
In order to curb fatalities in the rising man animal conflict, department officials will also distribute pamphlets to farmers and villagers near forest fringes to stay safe and not venture into forests in the night.
According to sources, farmers were reportedly agitated with the Forest Department for not providing the exact compensation even after damages are calculated by the Revenue and Agriculture Department.
The Forest Department, which is responsible of giving the compensation, provided only small amounts, increasingly angering farmers who constantly petition the administration to chase away or capture the elephants that usually venture into their properties in search of food and water.
“If there was damage of crops costing over Rs 40,000, farmers would be paid less than Rs 10,000 and that too only after frequent visits to the FD offices,” claimed a source.
However, District Forest Officer (DFO) S Ramasubramaniam has given a renewed assurance that all losses incurred by farmers will be compensated for, if they approach the department. “When the farmers bring us the exact data, we can provide the compensation without delay as we have ample funds,” he said.
Requesting farmers to help the FD handle man-animal conflict better, the DFO also requested them to inform the FD of animal movements in farms as soon as possible. “All our ranges, including Madukkarai, Boluvampatti, Sirumugai and Mettupalayam, have a good elephant population. These elephants frequently venture out and though we have our field staff always on the vigil in monitoring their movement and driving them back into the jungle, if the information is delayed, there could be substantial damage,” he said.