TANGLA: The man-elephant conflict has taken a serious turn in Udalguri district in the month of October causing death of one wild elephant and four human beings. In yet another death, one Alfash Orang (30) was trampled by a wild jumbo while he was on the way to work in 13 no. line area of Bhutiachang Tea Garden under Paneri PS in Udalguri district along the Indo-Bhutan border on Wednesday morning. The person was rushed in a critical condition to GMCH but he succumbed to his injuries mid-way. The rising casualties have evoked fear among the border populace who have been spending sleepless nights. They have largely blamed the inactive role of the forest department in tackling the menace.
Talking to The Sentinel, Divisional Forest Officer, Dhansiri Forest Division, Madhurjya Sarma informed that the forest department had adopted every possible measure to tackle the issue. Sarma stated that many of the casualties reported had taken place during confrontation with loner jumbo which strayed out of the herd. To monitor the movement of herds is possible but in case of loner it becomes very difficult, he said.
He also blamed the tea garden authorities for sending labourers to work early morning, thus risking their lives. On being asked for roping in Kumki or the trained captive elephants used in operations to chase wild elephants in the region, Sarma said that they had used Kumki elephants in Kundarbil area of Udalguri last year but the Badlapara Tea Estate and Nonai forest range area are usually monitored by forest personnel with the help of vehicles. He further stated that a herd of nearly 15 wild elephants is reportedly taking shelter in Bhutiachang Tea Estate area and a team of forest guards have been directed to monitor their movement.
Sarma also said that he would appraise the matter to the higher authorities for chalking out mitigating measures. He also said that the forest department lacked necessary manpower and he would seek the help of villagers and nature-loving youths by distributing flashlights and necessary gear to monitor the movement of herds, specifically in the post-harvesting season which witnesses rising cases of man-human conflict.
Nature lovers Dibakar Nayak and Mithu Sarkar, who have voluntarily associated themselves in providing relentless service towards mitigating the man-elephant conflict in the region, have also expressed concern over the apathy of hapless border populace.