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Forest department draws flak for 'failing' to tackle man-elephant conflict

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 Nov 2017 12:00 AM GMT

From a Correspondent

Tezpur, Nov 8: Wild elephant herds have been terrorizing remote and tea garden areas in Sonitpur district, killing people, destroying houses and consuming local rice beer supplies, prompting villagers to retaliate against the pachyderms with firecrackers and bonfires. Elephants, faced with shrinking forest cover and human encroachment of their corridors, venture into human settlements looking for food and attack those who try to stop them and sometimes elephants are very deliberate with the intent to kill.

Sources said that in recent times many people lost their lives due to man-elephant conflict in Balipara, Chariduar, Missamari and Rangapara areas in Sonitpur district but despite this, the forest department surprisingly has not taken any sort of measures to provide security to human life and property.

On the other hand, people of greater Rangapara area alleged, “Since the forest department is not too concerned about the lives of people residing in the villages, we have made efforts to save ourselves from the attacks of wild elephants. We were spending sleepless nights to drive away wild elephants approaching our villages by bursting crackers and making buzzing sounds. Yet we have failed to prevent the wild elephants from destroying our houses. As last resort, we now drive away the elephants by creating earsplitting sounds by starting the engines of tractors and opening up the silencer pipes. The effect of the sound has made an impact and we have been able to keep away five wild jumbos from entering the villages. The elephants then ran away towards mgaon tea garden area.”

Samaruh yak, social worker of greater Rangapara area said, “The forest department made efforts to prevent wild elephant attacks in the forest areas of Assam by installing electric fences and digging trenches, but these are meant to protect people from elephant attacks, not to scare the elephants. Buffer zones have been created to tackle the mece. In an area on the periphery of a village, plants found palatable by the elephants are cultivated and the second layer has plants like mustard which elephants shun. But despite these efforts, the lives of people are still under threat.”

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