GUWAHATI: In an unfortunate incident, officers of the Forest Department apprehended four individuals on Thursday for their involvement in erecting an unlawful fence with a live electric connection at a Banana garden. This has led to the tragic demise of an adult elephant recently.
As per reports, the giant creature died of electrocution after coming in contact with the electrical fence.
This tragic incident reportedly unfolded at Bandapara range of Kamrup forest division in Hahim last January 17, 2024.
The arrested culprits have been identified as Haravilas Rabha, Abhijit Rabha, Praneshwar Rabha and Basudev Rabha.
It has come to the fore that the perpetrators were responsible for constructing fences around the Banana garden with live electric connections to protect the banana crops from elephants and other wild animals, which is outlawed under forest rules.
Sources have informed that all the detainees were sent to judicial custody.
Meanwhile, earlier last year, the insulation of all bare conductors of power lines above elephant corridors in the state was underway to prevent the death of elephants through electrocution. The target length of such power lines was 326 km in as many as 19 locations in the state, with an estimated cost of Rs 110 crore.
According to APDCL sources, elephant corridors, including those in Kaziranga, Manas, Pobitora, Golaghat, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur, etc.—almost all the vulnerable wildlife corridors as demarcated by the Forest Department—were converted to insulated cables under different schemes like SOPD, RDSS, etc.
According to Forest Department sources, since 2021, around 100 elephants had died due to electrocution in the state. The practice of electric fencing to prevent elephant depredation had also started in the state. Such electric fences are not lethal. However, instead of using low-intensity direct current in these fences as is the norm, people often end up drawing electricity from high-power domestic lines, which is illegal and fatal.