Ensure elephants become friends of humans: CM

Citing Kerala as an example, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday called for public awareness and sought a better work plan by the Forest Department to reduce elephant-human conflict.

It was necessary to start a process so that elephants become friends of human beings, reducing their conflict, he said.

Baghel was holding the maiden meeting of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) at his official residence.

Upset over the death of some elephants in the state in recent times, the Chief Minister said arrangements needed to be made for adequate food and water arrangement in elephant habitat so that they don’t stray into human areas.

Citing Kerala as an example, Baghel said the southern state has around 6,000 elephants but rarely are conflicts reported with humans.

Elephants are calm, intelligent and social animals, he said. Understanding its habit and behavior and backed by public awareness, the losses can be minimized, an official press release quoted him as saying.

After seeing a presentation on the Arpa River revival plan, Baghel said that from the emerging point of Pendra to the merger point at Sheonath river, the ‘Narva’ treatment work plan should be ensured for regular flow of water.

On completion of 4,400 gauthans, the Chief Minister said the requirement of fodder will be higher due to day-care of cattle. The Forest Management Committee was asked to provide green fodder in September-October by harvesting it from the forest.

The fodder bundles are prepared in other forest regions and information is provided online. The Gauthan committees and private dairy players can also procure it. The rates should be fixed for them, he said.

Similarly, if there is a larger quantity of cow dung collected, it should to be put to other uses, he said.

The Chief Minister directed officials to sanction works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act covering Forest Rights Act and other schemes for forest dwellers.

Discussion was also held on construction and procreation of State Animal Wild Water Buffalo, State Bird Bastar Maina, Stag, hyena, ‘Sonkutta’, Vulture and others. The discussion revolved around increasing the number of tiger and bird friendly spots.