Nellore: Delay on the part of the forest department to complete the trenching work to prevent wild elephants from destroying crops after trespassing into habitations has been causing innumerable problems to the residents and farming community in the western parts of Chittoor district. The department's initiative to dig trenches to a length of 125 km in Kuppam and 61 km in Palamaner segments to keep tuskers away from the farm lands and habitations was launched last year but it remained incomplete due to hard rock sheet under the soil in different places.
The 201 km long trenching work was carried out in patches by the contractors because of hard rock in several places. In this backdrop, wild tuskers continue to damage the standing crops causing heartburn to the farming community especially in Ramakuppam mandal. As per the design, the trench should be of three metres width on the top, two metres at the bottom with overall depth of three metres. Contractors suspended the work after their earth moving machines were damaged while digging the area dotted with hard rock.
Forest department decided to use blasting method to overcome the problems and succeeded to some extent, but were forced to give up because of heavy rains and water flow in the streams above the rocky soil. Chittoor divisional forest officer T. Chakrapani said that they have covered 90 per cent of the trench work and planning to complete the balance within next two months by resuming the blasting method.
He said their initiative to install barricades with RCC pillars and gates near 126 streams and road crossing points identified in Kuppam region to thwart the tuskers from entering agriculture fields and habitations is also nearing completion. Stressing that the elephants are very intelligent animals and it is difficult to contain them from damaging crops, the DFO said that the tuskers are using the road between V. Kota and Pernimbattu in Kuppam forest range after they completed the barricade work in the area....