Southco, Forest dept join hands to prevent electrocution of wild elephants

Reported by Swadhin Rout
Brahmapur, Nov 3:

The Odisha Forest department and Southco, the power distribution company in south Odisha, are trying to synergize efforts to prevent elephant deaths due to electrocution.

File Pic
File Pic

The Forest department and Southco have jointly taken up special measures, including active patrolling, at 81 locations in Ganjam district alone, which are part of the traditional paths and corridors used by wild elephants.

“As part of the special measures 1,900 intermediate towers have been set up at 81 identified locations in Ganjam district used by the elephants for their movements, to prevent transmission lines from drooping low so that the possibility of animals coming in contact with live-wire, leading to their electrocution, is eliminated”, said Bharat Bhushan Sharma, managing director Southco.

These 1,900 towers have guard spikes fixed on them to prevent elephants from coming in close contact with the transmission towers, that lead to snapping of transmission lines resulting in their electrocution, said Sharma.

Bases of 3,400 transmission towers have been reinforced with concrete, he added.

The government has provided Rs 3.69 crore  to Southco for the purpose, said Southco sources.

While five elephants had died due to electrocution in Ganjam district in 2012, no deaths due to electrocution have been reported during 2013 and 2014, Forest department sources said.

“Our department and Southco have at present launched joint patrolling in three forest divisions of Ganjam district to protect elephants. Special squads have been formed to nab people using live wire to kill elephants in order to check them from damaging crops”, said Jitendra Kumar, Regional chief conservator of Forests.

The new measures are part of a new project undertaken in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput districts on a pilot basis to prevent elephant deaths caused due to electrocution.

Similar measures have been undertaken in 97 places in Gajapati district, 47 in Rayagada district, 14 in Koraput district, sources said.

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