Hassan: The farmers and coffee planters of regions surrounding Sakleshpur in District are digging up trenches to protect their farms from the elephant menace.
The farmers have dug up 20-feet deep and 20-feet wide trenches around their farmlands. This has come after the forest officers turned a blind eye towards their plight, alleged the farmers.
The trenches have been covered with leaves and bamboo sticks so that elephants who try to come towards their farmlands fall into the trench.
The farmers have stated that they will let the forest department officials shift the elephants trapped inside the trenches later. The forest authorities are in a fix over the development.
The locals said that the elephants have caused havoc in the Alur, Sakleshpur and Belur regions of Hassan district. The coffee, banana, pepper crops have been destroyed and also endangered the safety of people in the region.
They further said that the government appeared to be unconcerned about their plight. The farmers claimed that they informed about their plans to the government as well as the forest department.
The farmers and coffee planters of Hassan district in Karnataka, who incurred heavy crop losses due to the elephant menace, had warned the officials in the first week of December about their plans to dig trenches.
The farmers had warned the forest department officials about this, when they paid a visit to assess the crop loss. The villagers maintained that the government was not bothered to solve the issue of elephant menace and it is not giving any directions to the forest department either to deal with the issue.
“When elephants fall into the trench, you (forest department sleuths) come, lift and take them away,” the farmers had told them.
The farmers maintained that they will dig trenches in their farms and won’t do it in the land belonging to the forest department. Until the elephants fall into trenches and their trumpets heard by the government, there will be no solution to the elephant menace, the farmers told the authorities.
The situation in the region is so serious that, if the phone call is not received by their member, family members come running to the farm fearing elephant attack, farmers explained.
“We have sown and nursed coffee plants like our own children. If no action is taken, you will find all elephants in trenches. We will not kill them, but will inform them when the elephants fall in trenches,” the farmers said.