Chennai, Oct 22 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Government will operate mobile fair price shops to prevent man-elephant conflict in the hilly areas of the Valparai region in Pollachi.
Replying to a special mention raised by Kovai Thangam (Congress), Forests Minister N Selvaraj said the mobile shops would be situated some distance away from the residential quarters to prevent targetting of elephants, which frequent human habitations and attack food godowns for sugar, salt and jaggery.
He said trained elephants like Kumki were being used to drive away the wild ones.
On increase in the incidence of elephant attack on human habitats, Mr Selvaraj said, ''due to water scarcity in the forest areas from October to March as the Anamalai range received rain only from the South West monsoon, the elephants strayed into human habitations.'' Since these buildings and godowns were constructed with mud, the pachyderms could damage it easily. To prevent such attacks, officials have been instructed to open mobile fair price shops. The Government was also putting up electric fencing, charged by solar energy, wherever possible, to prevent intrusion of elephants, he added.
Earlier, raising the issue, Mr Thangam said elephants had attacked in about 14 places and wanted the Government to take steps to control the menace.