NAGAON, Dec 10 - Man-elephant conflict is on the rise in various parts of Nagaon district. According to the wildlife experts rapid loss of dense forests, infrastructure projects falling in elephant habitats and rising frustration of villagers are responsible for the problem.
In the last few years, the district has been witnessing a series of problems. The farmers in many parts the district have now stopped cultivation of sali crops due to damage caused by the herd of elephants.
The problem is aggravating day by day mainly due to depletion of forest areas in the wake of massive encroachment, especially in the elephant corridors. Forest areas have been encroached in many parts of the district under political patronage for which elephants and other animals have no alternative but to come out to the paddy fields or residential areas in search of food. Wildlife experts are also worried over the situation and have suggested initiating urgent steps for preservation of forests in the greater interest of the animals.
In 1992, the Central Government had declared five elephant sanctuaries in Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Kokrajhar, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Kamrup and Tinsukia districts. Also, in a bid to save the pachyderms, the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong elephant sanctuary was established covering Nagaon, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts for which the Central Government had allotted substantial funds, but strangely enough the project has failed to yield any desired result so far. The Nagaon district administration also allotted an amount of Rs 72 .57 lakh to construct a solar-powered wall to control the rising man-elephant conflict but that has also failed completely.
In the past few years, wild elephants have affected the lives of the people of Samaguri, Udmary, Singia, Bordoul, Barhampur, Chapanala, Kondoli, Padumoni, Kampur, Hojai and other areas of Nagaon. Padumoni, which is said to be the main centre of tea cultivation, is facing serious problems from the wild elephants. The small tea growers have sought help from the authorities concerned in this regard. On December 8, a herd of elephants created havoc in Kondoli area of Nagaon district. People of that locality became furious and attacked the forest personnel alleging that they did not arrive on time to control the wild elephants. As a result, forest employees Kabin Mahanta, Guna Kanta Hazarika, Rupjyoti Bora and Ali Hussain were injured. A seriously injured Ali Hussain was shifted to the BP Civil Hospital Nagaon. Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma visited Nagaon to meet the injured employees of the department and assured them of all possible help from her side.