The Department of Forests has identified three sites in Coimbatore forest areas to install solar-powered borewells. It will supply water to the troughs dug inside the forests to prevent elephants and other wild animals from venturing into human habitations in search of water. The borewells will be installed at Coimbatore, Sirumugai and Mettupalayam ranges. The installation works will commence in a couple of weeks.
The borewells will be around 400 feet deep and will have a 3 HP submersible motor, District Forest Officer (DFO) M. Senthil Kumar told The Hindu .
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced in August the digging of borewells and construction of overhead water tanks in forests across Tamil Nadu at a cost of Rs. 2.81 crore to provide water for wildlife and reduce man-animal conflict.
A sum of Rs. 9.1 lakh has been sanctioned for each unit. The solar panels would be installed inside the forest and mounted on a 25-feet high structure to prevent animals from damaging them.
The panels will also be securely fastened to prevent theft. They will pump water twice a week to the troughs. The water troughs were located on the patrol paths of Guard Watchers. They will give alerts when the water runs out.
The Forest Officer said that a total of 40 water troughs were located in Coimbatore Forest areas with 13 constructed in the last year alone
. This initiative was part of a holistic approach to reduce human-animal conflict.
To go with this, the Forest Department had begun cultivating grass and trees inside reserve forest areas.
Further, infrared-enabled warning systems were also likely to be installed in a couple of months on the forest boundaries.
This system will send SMS to a set of numbers such as forest officials and village heads if it detects elephants crossing its path.
“All these measures are being implemented with the long-term objective of reducing conflicts. Once the fodder crops grow and water troughs are filled, animals will not venture out,” Mr. Senthil said.
Source: The Hindu