The Pachyderm Menace

Wild Elephants havoc
File photo

During the last couple of years or longer, the menace of wild elephants wandering into human habitations in Assam, ruining crops and taking human lives quite unintentionally has been a very frequent tragedy. The herds of wild elephants have got larger every year and their fearful incursions into villages more terrifying. This is something that we have never had to deal with in the past. And going by the frequency of occurrence of this kind of a threat from pachyderms of the forest, people are understandably worried about the menace and about the proper course of action. The growing fear in the minds of our rural folk is fully justified largely because of the failure of the government to devise and implement a course of action that can at least reduce the menace of wild elephants and convince people that the government is aware of the problem and doing whatever is possible to arrive at a satisfactory solution to it. The fear in the minds of people is all the greater because there are no signs to indicate that the government really cares about the problem or intends to do anything about it. The general impression is that our rulers are actually clueless about what needs to be done and have been dragging their feet over the problem. This has led to two serious allegations that are being heard. One is that the government is concerned about such major problems only when they affect the urban population of the State and particularly of Guwahati where our rulers live. The other is that human life has become rather cheap in Assam, and that our rulers do not lose any sleep over what happens to other people as long as they are safe. This is rather unfortunate, and our ministers and bureaucrats must bestir themselves in order to find a viable solution to the problem of wild elephants in the State. One of them could be a concerted drive to tame as many of them as possible and engage them in activities related to the proper maintenance of our forests. Another could be the sale of wild elephants that have been tamed to other countries that need elephants for activities related to the upkeep of forests.