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Farmers, labour unions seek shifting of Chinna Thambi

More than 100 people, mostly farmers, staged a road blockade on the busy Udumalpet – Palani road on Thursday, urging the government to drive out wild elephant Chinna Thambi from the premises of Amaravathi Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited, where it has been camping for the last six days.

The protesters told mediapersons and the police that they resorted to the road blockade as the translocated wild elephant was “posing a threat to their lives and crops”.

According to them, the radio-collared tusker has damaged houses at Krishnapuram and raided sugracane, maize and paddy crops in their locality.

The elephant had left the sugar mill premises around 3 a.m. and entered a nearby sugarcane field.

After feeding on sugarcane, the elephant moved further and raided a paddy field.

The farmers, who were shocked to find the elephant moving from the sugar mills premises to nearby fields, gathered on Udumalpet-Palani road around 8.45 a.m. and blocked vehicles. Traffic was disrupted for more than 30 minutes. The protesters left the place after the police held discussions with them.

Meanwhile, two industrial bodies, members of which work at the sugar mill, claimed to have sent letters to the Chief Minister seeking immediate shifting of Chinna Thambi.

A senior official of the mill told mediapersons that several varieties of sugarcane were being cultivated by the cooperative firm in collaboration with a research institute in Coimbatore.

After the six-day-long halt at Krishnapuram, Chinna Thambi moved to Madathukualam around 9.30 p.m. on Thursday. Sources said that the elephant was moving towards Amaravathi river at the time of filing this report.

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