From a Correspondent
Tezpur, July 19: The people of the villagers living in and around the Soi-Rupai Sanctuary under Misamari PS in Sonitpur district have been passing sleepless nights for the last few days following wild elephants’ mece.
Forest department sources said that a 50-100 member herd of wild elephants has been creating havoc in Jiagabharu, Rikamari, Dhonkha, Ramthpur, Bengejuli, Golai and Tatsalgaon villages, damaging dwellings and crop land. During the period of the then Tezpur MP Josheph Toppa, a mega project of electric fencing was done in the Soi Rupai Sanctuary to keep confined the scattered wild elephants in a particular area within the sanctuary. With the passage of time due to the lack of maintence of the system and blocking of elephant corridor by army by allegedly constructing boundary walls violating the norms of eco-sensitive zone in the area, now the wild elephants come out to the human habitats, causing threat to the people.
During the past few years, in jumbo attacks, more than 50 people lost their lives, families of whom are yet to get compensation from the government. On the other hand, forest guards and the officers employed in the sanctuary alleged that due to the shortage of staff and lack of sophisticated arms and ammunition, besides fund crunch, they have to face several problems. “Amidst these we have been combating the problems only for the sake of the safety of the sanctuary and the wildlife and the people living in the vicinity of the sanctuary,” said the forest officials.
However, the villagers, who often become the target of the wild elephants, opined that only because of illegal construction of boundary walls by army in the area, the wild elephant problem is growing day-by-day posing a serious threat to everybody. “We expect the Central Government’s intervention in this issue,” the affected people said.