TEZPUR, Oct 23 - Mayhem created by herds of wild elephants has forced many families to pass sleepless nights in different belts in Sonitpur district inn the last few days.
Over the last many years, the problems created by elephant herds due to fodder and habitat shortage, floods and some other man-made problems have remained unaddressed for the people living in the vicinity of Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary, Nameri National Park and the sixth addition of Kaziranga National Park and in many villages and tea gardens in the northern part of the Sonitpur district encompassing a large area.
Talking to this correspondent, the victims of the mayhem victim alleged that till date the department concerned, particularly the Forest Department personnel are yet to deal with the issue sincerely. They said that as the forest areas in the northern areas have become a hub for timber smugglers and poachers, resulting in large-scale deforestation, herds of wild elephants come down to the rural and tea garden areas searching for food and shelter and as a result, the man-elephant conflict has taken a serious turn in the last few years with a number of elephants being poisoned.
On the other hand, official records suggest that some of the wild elephants have died due to fights common among wild tuskers, some others by falling into man-made deep holes and electrocution on fencings raised to protect inhabited areas. However, compounding the day by day growing man-elephant problem, the elephant herds have damaged many dwellings, properties and croplands in Balipara and Rangapara areas besides claiming human life and cattle in the last couple of weeks.
A socially aware and noted teacher of Jamuguri Pachigaon area, Bashab Bhuyan informed that around 36 to 40 wild elephants have been creating a terror-like situation in Pachigaon, Hokoma, Amdara and Panpur Ghat villages near south Jamuguri under the Jamuguri PS adjacent to the sixth addition of the KNP damaging a large area of cropland in the last one week. �But it is matter of great concern that despite the situation being known to the Forest Department, as it has been a regular affair in the area for the last many years, it is seen doing nothing in this regard,� Bhuyan alleged adding that people are of the opinion that if any immediate steps are not taken up by the department during this time of harvesting period, the villagers of the greater area will face a great loss.
Meanwhile, at time when the Forest department is often blamed for not taking necessary measures in this respect, an opposite picture has been witnessed in the Sonai-Rupai area as with the support of the locals, one dedicated forest official Gopal Deka has been seen taking necessary measures to tackle the problem amid tough challenges to protect the villagers of the Kolamati, Jiagabharu and greater Misamari area from the wild elephants. Noted environmentalist and wildlife activist, Saurabh Barkataki who recently rescued an endangered elephant calf in Sonai-Rupai said that until and unless the deforested forest areas are afforested for re-creating an extra elephant zone to confine the scattered wild elephants, the problem will always remain as it is.