AS PART of the state forest division’s pilot challenge to cease wild elephants from coming into villages, the Chhattisgarh authorities has put aside paddy acquired in 2019-2020 for “elephant administration” in 9 districts.

“For administration of elephants, it has been directed to supply paddy of 2019-2020 to the forest division at the price of procurement in Gariyaband, Balod, Sarguja, Raigarh, Surajpur, Korba, Dhamtari, Kanker and Mahasamund,” the Chhattisgarh State Cooperative Advertising and marketing Federation mentioned in a letter to the Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) dated July 22.

In accordance with the letter, the paddy was sourced from Raipur, Mahasamund, Bilaspur and Surajpur districts at Rs 2,095.83 per quintal. The letter, nevertheless, didn’t specify the portions put aside for the 9 districts.

P V Narsingha Rao, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), mentioned the pilot challenge could be applied in a few villages at first. “We are going to procure solely 10 quintals for the pilot challenge at first,” he mentioned.

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Forest division sources mentioned the target was to distract elephants from coming into villages. “Most elephant-human conflicts occur when the tuskers enter the villages foraging for meals. By offering them paddy outdoors the villages, we’re pre-empting the battle,” mentioned a forest division official.

Environmentalists, nevertheless, have raised questions concerning the plan of motion. “Wild animals can’t be force-fed. Within the wild, elephants eat barks and roots of sure bushes. In addition they prefer to eat younger shoots and different elements of bushes. After they come to villages, it’s due to shortages in forests. Even then, they devour mahua saved in homes. Solely in desperation do the elephants eat paddy, as paddy husks damage their delicate trunks,” mentioned elephant professional and activist Mansoor Khan.

Chief of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik additionally questioned the choice. “When recent paddy was auctioned at Rs 1,400 lately, why is rotten and outdated paddy being purchased at Rs 2,095? We suspect that the federal government goes to make use of the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Administration and Planning Authority) funds to ration the losses made by their mismanagement,” Kaushik mentioned.

By the way, the state authorities was unable to meet its paddy quota on the Meals Company of India in 2019-2020. In accordance with an FCI letter to the state authorities, “the entire CMR (customized milled rice) to be delivered to FCI was 28.1 LMT (lakh metric tonnes) for KMS (kharif advertising season) 2019-2020. Nonetheless, State Govt. of CG (Chhattisgarh) may ship solely 26.38 LMT CMR.”

“The paddy shares couldn’t be picked on time as a result of they have been rotting. Now that they’ve been saved for 2 wet seasons, they might have both rotten additional or sprouted, making the paddy unfit for consumption,” mentioned a rice miller from Raipur.

Up to now three years, 204 deaths have been reported within the state on account of to man-elephant battle. The elephant depend within the state is estimated at 290.

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