udalguri man-elephant
Photo: Northeast Now

The man-elephant conflict which has taken a serious turn in Udalguri district of Assam with the deaths of three persons during the last three months and damage of no less than 30 houses in Uttar Garuajhar, Dakhin Garuajhar and Bhutiachang area has forced the State Forest Department to seek immediate steps to mitigate the menace.

The continuous damage of houses and croplands has forced the Uttar Garuajhar villagers, to shift their houses and mass exodus is taking place.

Reportedly, the villagers of Guiabasti, Saotalbasti chubas are the worst affected along with Basbari village near Bhutiachang.

The Deputy Commissioner of Udalguri, Dilip Kumar Das and ADC, B J Manta have already taken a slew of initiatives.

The locals and nature loving people have expressed grave concern over the situation and have sought immediate intervention from the district administration.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Das has directed the Forest Department to conduct a detailed survey of the affected villages.

DFO, Dhansiri Forest Division, Udalguri, M K Sarma along with forest staff and Honorary Wildlife Warden, Udalguri, Jayanta Kumar Das visited the affected zones on June 15.

The forest officials divulged that a herd of wild elephants numbering nearly 100 was spotted at Bhutiachang tea garden on June 15 evening.

The DFO said that a 40-km-long area from Rajagarh to Kundarbil has been identified as ‘conflict zone’ in Udalguri district.

“Proposal for construction of five numbers of watch towers in the Hatigarh-Bhutiachang area has been approved by the BTC authorities. Moreover, a man-elephant conflict control room will be opened soon to assist the public that will offer round-the-clock service. Besides, five anti-depredation squads are in the pipeline,” he said.

udalguri elephant
Photo: Northeast Now

He further added that, five public coordination groups will be formed, each at Nonaikhuti, Rajagarh, Paneri, Santipur and Udalguri for better coordination between the public and the Forest Department.

Replying to a question about rising incidents of man-elephant conflicts, he observed that the problem has been increasing due to loss of habitat.

“The forest coverage has been shrinking for which elephants have started losing their habitat,” he claimed.

Shajid Khan

Shajid Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Udalguri. He can be reached at: itsshajidkhan@gmail.com