TEZPUR: A herd of wild elephants has been creating mayhem since the last three months in several villages of Rangapara, Chariduar and Balipara area, besides the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh bordering areas, destroying several houses. The local residents are spending sleepless nights.
A wild herd of pachyderms sauntered across from the Sunai-Rupai forest into the populous neighbouring villages of Rangapara and Chariduar in Sonitpur district. Scuffle broke out recently at night in the villages while a wild elephant with a long tusk entered the village and damaged six houses of villagers Roshan Beg, Rupa Orang, Rajendra Dugar, Amit Changa, Samuel Lebun and Minati Mallik and destroyed vast household properties, crops and tea garden.
A tragic incident took place at Sonajuli Tea Garden area under Rangapara LAC in Sonitpur district where a man was killed by wild elephants on Thursday. According to sources, a herd of wild elephants emerged from the nearby forest and entered Sonajuli Tea Garden and created massive havoc by plundering and destroying the houses of the tea garden workers and killed one worker, Abhinash Gurai (55). Following the incident, a large number of tea garden labourers and members AASA and ATTSA staged a protest against the forest department. Over the last many years, the problems created by elephant herds due to fodder and habitat shortage, floods and some other man-made problems have remained unaddressed for the people living in the vicinity of Sonai Rupai Sanctuary, Nameri National Park and the sixth addition of Kaziranga National Park and in many villages and tea gardens in the northern part of the Sonitpur district.
Sunil Tuti, social worker of greater Rangapara area, said that till date the department concerned, particularly the Forest Department personnel, are yet to deal with the issue sincerely. Tuti added that people were of the opinion that if any immediate steps were not taken up by the department during this time of harvesting period, the villagers and tea estates of the greater area would face a great loss.