DIBRUGARH: 55-year-old Gobin Gogoi, resident of Konwarbam village, Dibrugarh has expressed happiness after 15-km solar fence has been installed in their village to prevent elephant depredation. “This time our paddy fields are safe and no elephants has entered our village. Earlier, our crops were damaged after elephant herds entered our village and damaged our crops. The elephants entered our village because it is situated near the Dehing Patkai National Park and created terror but now everything seems to be safe after the installation of the solar fencing,” said Gobin Gogoi, who is also a farmer.
The solar fencing has been installed from Nagaghat water tank to Bongaon forest village under Joypur reserve forest in Dehing Patkai National Park. The solar fencing was inaugurated on June 12, 2023 under District Mineral Foundation scheme Trust, Dibrugarh District for the FY 2023-24 with Rs 22 lakh. Solar fence works like an electric fence which delivers a brief yet fierce shock when human beings or animals come in contact with the fence.
While talking to the correspondent Dilip Gogoi, a forester said, “Earlier elephant depredation has been a major issue in the villages and every year our crops were damaged by the herd of elephants which comes out from the Joypur reserve forest but after the installation of the solar fencing, elephants didn’t enter the villages. Now, crops are safe and no elephants come to paddy fields.”
“Before the installation of solar fencing, elephant herds regularly entered our village and damaged our crops and we used crackers and fire to drive the elephants. The villagers had set up tongi ghar (watchmen shed) to save their paddy from the elephants but no such things has been required to drive away the elephants because the elephants didn’t enter the village,” Gogoi said.
He said, “Human-elephant conflict has been a major issue due to the shrinking of forest covers and elephants in search of food entered human habitation. The elephant herds created terror in the villages. To drive the elephants, we have to used crackers and drums but now after the installation of the solar fencing things has changed.”
Dilip Gogoi is also a resident of Kacharipathar village under Joypur forest. He has been guarding the villages for the past several years. Talking to The Sentinel, Lucky Dutta, range officer at Joypur forest range said, “The solar fencing has a hundred percent success ratio. After the installation of the solar fencing panel no elephants have been seen entering the village. Earlier, human-elephant conflict has been a regular scenario in the villages but now it has been in control after the solar fencing.”
“Now, we are planning to install the solar fencing at Namsang. We are thinking to circle the village with solar fence to control elephant depredation. We also don’t want to disturb the movements of elephants,” Dutta said. The Dihing Patkai National Park, which falls under the Jeypore range and Soraipung range of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, covers an area of 234,26 sq km. Dihing Patkai National Park is a home of Asian elephant which travels a long distance and it has been a healthy habitat for the elephants.
Dihing Patkai National Park was upgraded as a national park on December 13, 2020. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary on June 13, 2004. Known all over for its rainforest, the last remaining stretches of Assam Valley Tropical West Evergreen Forests, the park is home to elephants, hoolock gibbons, golden cat, clouded leopard and other animals. Till date, 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species have been recorded.