JORHAT, Nov 22 � Thousands of farmers in more than 30 villages on the southern bank of Brahmaputra in Jorhat are burning midnight oil at their localities to guard against marauding elephants as a herd of about 150 wild elephants descended on their yellowish paddy fields from the neighbouring forest lands during the night and destroyed crops for the past several days.
The entire river-side area from Neamatighat to Jhanjimukh in the district witnessed massive destruction of paddy and vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and many others by the herd of wild elephants for the last several days as the forest department officials literally failed to drive away the herd to some reserve forests.
Though some of the brave villagers attempted to scare them away with light and sounds of crackers and torches besides causing hue and cry they could not do it so as some of the mother-elephants gave birth to at least five new calves recently at the paddy fields in Borkolia, Dhekiakhowa, Lahkargaon village.
�When they destroy our paddy we make hue and cry. Though we try to chase them away by the sounds and light of crackers and torches we failed to do so as the herd has five new-born calfs. We saw the baby-elephants were guarded by the big ones in our agricultural land as the little ones do not want to move to another location,� said Ranjit Bora of Borkolia village.
Some days ago though Ranjit and some other farmers appealed the divisional forest officer of Jorhat division for providing adequate numbers of forest guards to protect their paddy fields from the jumbo the official concerned did not send the required number of guards, the villagers alleged.
�Recently the DFO said that they are in shortage of manpower. If government officials cannot help us in protecting the yellowish paddy most of the framers will lose the benefit of their six-month�s labour,� said Uttam Sarma of the locality.
However, when this correspondent asked about the existing staff of forest guards in the division some senior officials said that there are 77 forest guards in Jorhat forest division which are adequate in number to guard the paddy fields in the areas concerned.
But the officials admit that they have shortage of torch tights, bullets of point 315 rifles and few other materials for scaring the heard away.
According to the framers government should make a permanent solution to the problems of wild elephants which have literally caused devastation in most of the agricultural lands on the southern bank of Brahmaputra in Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat district.
�This time we have lost corps in several fields. We appeal higher authority for a permanent solution. Government should pay heed to our problems,� an elderly farmer of Doloigaon locality said.