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25 Aug 2019, Edition - 1503, Sunday

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Forest helpline to curb man-animal conflict soon

A T Jahar

Four lives were lost recently in man-animal conflicts around Coimbatore, forcing the forest authorities to launch a helpline. Four people from Podanur area died after being attacked by Jumbo on June 2. In this attack, six members, including two anti-poaching watchers, were injured.

On July 4, panic gripped Madukkarai village when a leopard was found in a church compound. Forest officials rushed to the spot and tranquilised it. But the ailing leopard soon died.

Incidents like these have become common and the as a precautionary step, the state forest department plans to launch a helpline soon and will receive complaints and alerts from the public. The Government has sanctioned Rs 1.38 core for this helpline under the Kaliru scheme.

A control room is to be set up at the office of the Coimbatore forest ranger. Staff will be deputed to attend calls. “We have approached BSNL for a helpline number exclusively for the forest department. A separate register will be maintained to note down the calls. After receiving the complaints, the control room will alert the forest range officers who will rush to the spot immediately,’’ said Conservator of Forest S Ramasubramanian.

The helpline is to address distress calls and ensure public of an authentic source for help. “It will help to the collect the database of man-animal conflict and also monitor whether the officials attend the complaints,” he added.

The public has welcomed the move. “We are waiting for this scheme. If it is launched, it will help us near the forest areas to live peacefully,’’ said M Mohan of Madukkarai.

“Every department has a helpline number, except the forest one. This is a good initiative,” said L. Kalaiarasan, also of Madukkarai.

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