Elephant menace: Karnataka to seek Central aid

The State government will seek the Centre’s assistance in tackling the elephant menace in the Malnad region, particularly in Hassan and Kodagu districts.

A delegation from the State will submit a “list of rogue elephants” to the Union government for it to take appropriate action to avoid man-elephant encounters in Karnataka.

Forest Minister C H Vijayashankar and Minister in charge of Hassan, V Somanna, on Thursday discussed the issue with farmers’ representatives from Hassan and the officials concerned, in Bangalore.

Vijayashankar told media persons that the elephant menace in areas close to forests had been going on unabated for the last 30 years. The government will appeal to the Centre to launch a programme to rehabilitate rogue elephants, he said.

He said his ministry would identify places for installing solar fencing and digging elephant-proof trenches to help curb elephant raids on agricultural fields.

The department will prepare an action plan to stop the menace completely in two years. “I assure farmers that the department will arrange for funds required for the project,” he said.

The minister said farmers had suffered crop losses because of constant attacks by wild elephants on farmlands. “The farmers get a meagre amount as compensation. The forest department will work out a proposal to review the compensation for crops destroyed by wild elphants, in the next budget.”

As many as 14 people and 15 elephants had died since 2007 in Hassan district alone. The government will interact with farmers who have settled in forest lands and convince them to clear encroachments, he said.


Passport mela for Haj pilgrims gets good response

The Haj Committee of India has made it mandatory for the Haj pilgrims to submit their passports along with their Haj applications. Accordingly, the Dakshina Kannada District Haj Executive Committee had organised a passport mela in association with Karnataka Haj Committee at the Yenepoya Trust Office in Karnad Sadashiva Rao Memorial Building on Wednesday.

It was said that submission of passports has been made mandatory to avoid confusion for the Haj journey. A large number of people who wish to visit Haj from DK, Udupi, Kodagu, as well as Uttara Kannada participated in the mela. The mela was inaugurated in the presence of Yenepoya Mohammed Kunhi, Azeez Baikampady and others. Over 100 applications for passports were submitted by noon.

The organisers were seen helping the applicants to fill the application forms and submit the required documents. The applicants will have to visit the passport office in Mangalore on the scheduled date to receive their passports.

The Karnataka State Haj Committee has launched passport melas all over the state to facilitate Haj pilgrims to get their passports on time.

A representative from Karnataka State Haj Committee B R Abdul Wajid said that arrangements have been made to get the passports well in advance in order to prevent confusion in the last minute.

Haj pilgrims in Bangalore rural and urban, Chamarajanagar, Bidar, Chikballapur, Chikmagalur, Gulbarga, Chitradurga, Mandya, Hassan, Kolar, Raichur, Mysore, Mandya, Ramanagar, Tumkur, Shimoga, and Yadgir are required to apply at the Bangalore office of the Karnataka State Haj Committee, which is located on Richmond Road.

Haj pilgrims in Kodagu, DK, Uttara Kannada, and Udupi are required to submit their applications with required documents at this passport mela.

Haj piligrims in Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Bellary, Davanagere, Dharwad, Gadag, Koppal, and Haveri are required to apply at Bright Educational Welfare Cultural and Religious Association in Hubli. 1