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Sonitpur farmers seek respite from elephant depredations

By Shambhu Boro
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TEZPUR, Dec 12 - The farmers of greater Beseria, Bihaguri, Puthimari and Jahamari areas have been facing a tough time over the years while continuing their farming activities on the Brahmaputra river bank following a reign of terror and destruction unleashed annually by herds of wild elephants frequenting the spots.

It may be mentioned here that the above-mentioned lesser-known areas falling under Tezpur and Barchala LACs in Sonitpur district have now become famous for largescale farming of a variety of rabi crops in the lush fields along the Brahmaputra. Over the years, during the kharif season the rural youth along the Brahmaputra have been cultivating the vast stretches and turning the flood-prone but silted barren land into rich verdant fields.

Different kinds of seasonal crops like pumpkin, garlic, pea, black-gram, potato, brinjal, tomato, mustard, beans, onion and leafy vegetables present a multi-hued view to visitors.

There are over 7,000 families in this belt who primarily subsist on cultivation of rabi-crops, as during the kharif season (summer time) cannot go for cultivation due to submerging of their lands by flood waters of the Brahmaputra. Each of these indigenous farmers has a holding of around 5 to 10 bighas of land on an average. The villagers along with their family members can now be seen toiling in the fields throughout the day.

This area from Beseria to Jahamari-Nabeel consisting of hundreds of bighas of fertile land along the Brahmaputra looks like a carpet of green, chock-a-block with seasonal vegetables. Though the Brahmaputra erodes particular stretches and floods others during the summer season, it has nevertheless provided the local farmers with means of sustenance, like organic manure and mineral-rich silt for practicing agricultural activities during the winter season over the years. The vegetables produced in the area on a large scale is usually enough to meet the financial needs of the farmers and also cater to the local demand, besides meeting the demand of the entire region.

Obviously, people of these areas depend upon agriculture as their means of livelihood. Senior journalist Gautam Khanikar of Pithakhowa here too devotes quality time in tending to his fields along with his hard-working fellow farmers of the area.

Visibly annoyed by repeated depredations inflicted by herds of wild elephants every year, Gautam informed that due to the perennial problem, the farmers have to face great loss on a regular basis.

�We do not receive adequate compensation for the losses sustained from the authority concerned,� he rued.

He added that though there are a number of much-hyped schemes under the Agriculture Department, but the benefits often fail to reach the pachyderm-hit genuine farmers. He urged the Forest Department to deal with the wild elephant herds logically so that the poor farmers can hope to get respite from the annual elephant-inflicted depredations.

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Sonitpur farmers seek respite from elephant depredations

TEZPUR, Dec 12 - The farmers of greater Beseria, Bihaguri, Puthimari and Jahamari areas have been facing a tough time over the years while continuing their farming activities on the Brahmaputra river bank following a reign of terror and destruction unleashed annually by herds of wild elephants frequenting the spots.

It may be mentioned here that the above-mentioned lesser-known areas falling under Tezpur and Barchala LACs in Sonitpur district have now become famous for largescale farming of a variety of rabi crops in the lush fields along the Brahmaputra. Over the years, during the kharif season the rural youth along the Brahmaputra have been cultivating the vast stretches and turning the flood-prone but silted barren land into rich verdant fields.

Different kinds of seasonal crops like pumpkin, garlic, pea, black-gram, potato, brinjal, tomato, mustard, beans, onion and leafy vegetables present a multi-hued view to visitors.

There are over 7,000 families in this belt who primarily subsist on cultivation of rabi-crops, as during the kharif season (summer time) cannot go for cultivation due to submerging of their lands by flood waters of the Brahmaputra. Each of these indigenous farmers has a holding of around 5 to 10 bighas of land on an average. The villagers along with their family members can now be seen toiling in the fields throughout the day.

This area from Beseria to Jahamari-Nabeel consisting of hundreds of bighas of fertile land along the Brahmaputra looks like a carpet of green, chock-a-block with seasonal vegetables. Though the Brahmaputra erodes particular stretches and floods others during the summer season, it has nevertheless provided the local farmers with means of sustenance, like organic manure and mineral-rich silt for practicing agricultural activities during the winter season over the years. The vegetables produced in the area on a large scale is usually enough to meet the financial needs of the farmers and also cater to the local demand, besides meeting the demand of the entire region.

Obviously, people of these areas depend upon agriculture as their means of livelihood. Senior journalist Gautam Khanikar of Pithakhowa here too devotes quality time in tending to his fields along with his hard-working fellow farmers of the area.

Visibly annoyed by repeated depredations inflicted by herds of wild elephants every year, Gautam informed that due to the perennial problem, the farmers have to face great loss on a regular basis.

�We do not receive adequate compensation for the losses sustained from the authority concerned,� he rued.

He added that though there are a number of much-hyped schemes under the Agriculture Department, but the benefits often fail to reach the pachyderm-hit genuine farmers. He urged the Forest Department to deal with the wild elephant herds logically so that the poor farmers can hope to get respite from the annual elephant-inflicted depredations.

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