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TN to shut down horticulture farm in Nilgiri Biosphere to facilitate elephant movement

- September 15, 2022

Chennai, Sept 15 (BPNS)

The Tamil Nadu horticulture department will be shutting down its 21-acre farm at Kallar  established in 1900 to facilitate the movement of elephants through the Nilgiri Biosphere  Reserve (NBR). This is following a recent order of the Madras High Court.

It may be noted that five high court judges have visited the area and after an on-the-spot study and evaluation and after consultations with farmers, wildlife activists, and forest officials, the court has taken a decision.

C. Rajeev, Director of Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a think tank based out of Chennai and a social activist while speaking to BPNS said, “ This is a good decision of the state government as Kallar is an elephant corridor and has the single largest population of Asiatic Elephants.”

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an important migratory corridor of elephants and falls in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states. The activists were up in arms against the functioning of this horticulture farm which has a building and sales counters.

K.M. Pandyan, an activist and farmer at Nilgiris while speaking to BPNS said, “ The farm has several yielding crops including litchi, mangosteen, avocado and also nutmeg and jackfruit trees. However this is an important migratory area of the elephants and the wild elephants are straying into the human settlements mainly because the connectivity is cut. The shutting down of the horticulture farm will lead to a free movement for elephants and will reduce the entry of them into human areas.”

The Coimbatore Forest Division officials have already recommended the Horticulture department to close the farm.  The farm is likely to be set up at Karadu or Rasadi near Sirumugai. The horticulture farm is presently employing 20 permanent staff and they will be relocated to the new farm.

While the Madras High Court has ordered the shutting down of the horticulture farm, there are a few private properties, and activists including Pandian appealed to the owners of these properties to shut down their ventures to ensure free movement to elephants in their natural habitat.