To prevent crops damaged by wild animals, the government of Himachal Pradesh is implementing Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana. Under the scheme, officials said on Sunday, 466,920 hectares of land were protected by installing solar fences.
About Rs 175.38 crore has been spent under the scheme benefiting 5,535 farmers.
According to the government, the crop in several regions was affected by stray and wild animals.
Under the scheme, the state government subsidizes farmers to construct solar fences. 80 percent subsidy for solar fences is provided at the individual level and 85 percent is subsidized at the community level.
The solar powered fence helps keep out even the monkeys.
As requested, the state has provided a 50 percent subsidy on barbed wire and chain link fencing along with a 70 percent subsidy for composite fencing.
Officials told IANS that there has been an increase in beneficiaries of the scheme in the past few years. Providing barbed wire fences along with solar fences has been shown to be beneficial in protecting the crop.
The monkey threat across the state has caused crop losses estimated at Rs hundreds of crore in recent years.
With the extensive surgical sterilization of monkeys or rhesus macaques that he’s been undergoing since 2007, the state believes that killing them chosen at the behest of farmers’ lobbies will somehow help quell their anger over massive crop looting.
Himachal Pradesh has declared nine species of wild animals as crop-damaging animals.
Besides the monkey, they are the wild boar, blue bull, porcupine, jackal, cheetal, sambar, hare and parrot. They are all protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1972.
Agriculture plays an important role in the state’s economy with 90 percent of the population living in rural areas and 70 percent directly dependent on agriculture.
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