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Elephant attack-proof PDS shops to come up in TN

Chennai, Oct 4 (BPNS)

In a bid to prevent wild elephants at bay from Public Distribution System (PDS) commodities, the forest officials of Tamil Nadu are bringing up novel models of PDS shops.

As an experiment, the  forest officials of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) is constructing a model building on elevated pillars for the PDS shop at Thirumalai in Valparai making it difficult for wild elephants to access the shop.

A meeting held between officials of the forest department including ATR officials, revenue and civil supplies department officials was held on Monday to finalise this experimental project. If the project to be implemented at Thirumalai in Valparai turns successful, then the officials will extend this to places where there is human-elephant conflict.

It may be noted that the Kerala forest department has in its forest policy note recently decided to plant jack fruit trees and other fruit-bearing trees that are dear to elephants within forest land. Taking a cue from this Tamil Nadu forest department will also be planting jack fruit trees within its forest land so that wild elephants don’t venture out into human settlements bordering forest lands.

The forest department and civil supplies department has taken the initiative to construct a model ration shop to prevent the wild elephant’s access to the PDS commodities as the next three months will be a migration period for elephants.

The municipal department officials who were also part of the revenue team that attended the meeting informed the ATR officials to erect sign boards for the tourists on the do’s and dont’s at the tourist sites in Valparai.

It is to be noted that a majority of the PDS shops in the ATR area and other human inhabitations bordering forest lands don’t have shops that are concrete structures and there were instances of wild elephants targeting specific shops for the commodities that include sugar and jaggery.