The fence delivers a mild but effective electric shock to animals that may happen to come into contact with it. This first-of-its-
Joint forest management committee (JFMC) maintains the solar powered fence in the villages. JFMC members makes sure that no saplings grow along the fence or any branches touch it, thus carrying earthing to the ground. After the crop is harvested, JFMC will collect Rs 500 from each beneficiary farmer for maintenance the fence.
"There has been no incidence of crop damage due to intruding wild boars, spotted deer or nilgai this year. The carnivores pursuing these herbivores too have stopped intruding into our land," said JFMC head Gunwant Dakhare of Kem.
"The fence covers around 300 acres of agricultural land of around 25 farmers in village. As our village is located on the fringe of the forest, the fence also protects the crops of adjacent village," said Rampur JFMC chief Anand Bahure. More than 300 hectares of agricultural land of Rampur and Kem is protected by the fence.
The fringe forests areas in Chandrapur are at the centre of man-animal conflict, thanks to the healthy population of herbivore and carnivores in jungles here. The issue of crop damages due to intrusion of herbivores in fringe areas had gained prominence in the last few years. Cases of crop damages due to herbivore are on rise in Chandapur division. Year 2010-11 had witnessed 1,159 crop damage cases, while the figure rose to 2,889 in year 2011-12.
Even though the forest department compensates for the crop losses, farmers still had a feeling of grudge against the wild animals leading to conflict. To deal with the issue, DCF, Chandrapur forest division, P Kalyan Kumar decided to take up a pilot project of solar power fencing in four villages. Solar powered fences of three km each have been installed around the agriculture land of Rampur and Kem in Warora (non-buffer area) and Pandharwani and Nimbala villages in buffer area of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
This eight foot high fence is supplied with low voltage electric pulse powered by solar photovoltaic module. Any herbivore trying to intrude through this fence is stunned due to electric shock, but it is not fatal. "Since the solar powered fence is installed in four villages, no case of crop damage has been registered there. It has also helped us in mitigating man-animal conflict, as farmers tend to install wire traps at farm boundaries to thwart intruding herbivores. In many instances, big carnivores like tiger and leopard have died of being trapped in such snares," Kumar explained.