AGARTALA, March 30 (PTI): The Forest department in Tripura has moved a proposal before the state government for erecting solar-powered electric fences around some villages in Khowai district’s Teliamura subdivision, where several instances of elephant attacks in the recent past left at least one man dead and many others injured, a senior official said.
Atharamura hill, spanning parts of Khowai and Dhalai districts, is home to at least 18 elephants, according to the census carried out by the department in 2020-21.
“The ONGC is engaged in laying a gas pipeline in Atharamura hill, which has been identified as a natural elephant corridor. The project will disturb elephants living in the corridor, and they may stray into nearby villages more often.”
“We have submitted a proposal to the state government for erecting solar fences covering an area of 20 km to keep the elephants away from human habitats,” the Forest department official said.
If approved by the state government, the matter will then be taken up with ONGC and funds for sanctioning the fencing project will be sought from the oil and gas major.
The solar-powered barrier, once set up, will give a non-lethal shock to the elephants if they come in contact with it, the official said, adding that the cost of erecting fences across 1 km stood around Rs 20 lakh.
In Assam, the solar powered fence has turned out to be a beneficial tool to prevent man-animal conflict in Rani Forest Reserve, near Guwahati, he stated.
Noting that elephants consume salt water in large volumes during summers, the senior official said that measures are being taken to ensure that the pachyderms do not venture out of their habitat in search of it.
“Six salt lakes have already been created in core areas. Twelve more will be coming up soon on the hill. Elephants often raid villages in search of salt,” he explained.
In some areas, the department plans to dig trenches because pachyderms can’t bypass such obstacles to reach human habitation, he said.
Village-level volunteers have been deployed to create awareness about the conflicts among locals and alert them when an attack is imminent, the forest official added.