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Plantation drive for passage to elephants

By Correspondent

KALAIGAON, June 11 - The management of Nonaipara tea garden under Goodricke Group situated near the India-Bhutan border in Udalguri district, has launched a new programme of attracting students and children to plant more trees in an effort to check climate change and for the restoration of forests for wild animals and birds. The plantation and conservation programme was officially launched on June 10 at Nonaipara tea garden. NM D�Souza, senior assistant manager, Nonaipara TE and senior environmental journalist JK Das launched the programme by planting a sapling each followed by hundreds of school children and teachers in presence of several women and journalists. The office bearers of �ADWR�, an NGO of the district also took part in the programme.

It may be mentioned that the tea garden had already converted an area of 20 hectares of land into a forest area in order to provide shelter to wild animals especially the wild elephants. Talking to this correspondent, D�Souza said that another five hectares would be added to the existing area for new forest land. Referring specially to the man-elephant conflict in Udalguri district, he said that Nonaipara tea garden had not been affected much by the wild elephants as they had been maintaining a eight-km-long elephant corridor from the Bhutan border to the plains of Assam through Nonaipara and Orangajuli tea gardens. The wild herds could move through the corridors undisturbed.

According to the tea garden management, there had been no casualties in their tea garden due to man-elephant conflict for several years. Another official, Dipak Kumar Hazarika said that they had arranged three water reservoirs for the wild elephants, which they could use during their seasonal migration from the Bhutan hills to the Assam plains from June to December. He further said that they had trained their workers not to come in the way of the herds. People have also been trained to check if any wild animal or bird has been killed or captured by any worker. Hunting of any kind has been totally banned in and around the tea garden and the tea garden management had been maintaining very cordial relations with the Forest Department.

Later, in the afternoon, an interactive session was held in the garden hall on conservation of flora and fauna. A local youth Syan Tanti sang a song on conservation while students of Jagrti LP School staged a drama on deforestation activities in Udalguri district. Niraj Moni Chourasia, assistant manager, Robin Gowala, president, local unit of AASAA, Rubi Bora, Supriya Hazarika, Puja Singh etc., attended the programme as the distinguished guests.

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