SILCHAR, Sept 23 - In a bid to check the movement of elephants in the human habitat, the Karimganj district administration and the Forest department have decided to plant saplings of chilli and lemon along the Indo-Bangla international border.
According to locals of Puthini tea garden, around six elephants have been creating a havoc in the villages for the past several days.
�Following reports of destruction of crops and homes by the elephants along the Patharia Forest range of Lathitila and Doomabari, I had visited the border area along with the forest officials, and we decided to apply the chilli-lemon fencing strategy to keep the jumbos at bay. The work has already began and around 10,000 chilli and lemon saplings will be planted covering a stretch of 300 metres along the border,� Karimganj Deputy Commissioner Pradip Kumar Talukdar told The Assam Tribune on Saturday. He informed that a similar approach was taken along the Indo-Bhutan border to restrict the movement of elephants.
Meanwhile, this initiative has irked the environmentalists and activists. Prof Parthankar Choudhury who is also Head of the Department of Ecology and Environment Science of Assam University Silchar and environmentalist Nazimur Rahman Talukdar have expressed serious concern.
�The Government of India has already taken an initiative to open the trans-boundary corridor for elephant migration in different parts of Assam and Meghalaya with Bangladesh. The move to restrict the remaining six elephants out of the 18 might lead to their extinction from Barak Valley,� Prof Choudhury maintained. In his words, the Government should take some positive steps to minimise the man-elephant conflict and the transformation of the reserve forest into a wildlife sanctuary can solve the issue to a great deal and enhance prospects of ecotourism as well.