The Karnataka Forest Department on Saturday, October 2, booked three officials of the Hubli Electricity Supply Company (HESCOM) in connection with the death of an adult female Indian Gaur in the Belagavi district. The gaur had died after coming in contact with an electric fence in the Kanakumbi forest area in Khanapur taluk on September 24.
The Forest Department has now booked the assistant engineer of Khanapur, the section officer of the Jamboti Section, and the junior lineman of Kanakumbi, all working for HESCOM. The officials have been booked for negligence of duty under the relevant sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Harsha Banu, stated that the negligence of the officials has been found prima facie in the case of the death of the gaur, which is a scheduled animal under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.
"A joint operation will be taken up in the high forest area to identify all the dangling electric lanes, which endanger wild animals and people in order to avoid such incidents," he said.
Just a few months earlier in July, a wild elephant had died in Kodagu district when it came in contact with an electric fence surrounding a ginger farm. According to The New Indian Express, the fence was illegally electrified with connection from a home. The report further said that such connections are not permitted by the state Electricity Act.
In January, a 20-year-old tusker was electrocuted in Tamil Naduâ€™s Coimbatore district. In this case, too, the power for the fence was drawn from a live electric line. According to a previous report in TNM, the Tamil Nadu government permitted and encouraged electric fences that were powered by batteries and solar cells. However, drawing power from live electric lines was not permitted as the intensity of the current could be fatal to animals that come in contact with the fences.
(With inputs from IANS)