Udalguri: The Dhansiri Forest Division Udalguri have taken up several measures to combat the acute man-elephant conflicts in the Indo-Bhutan border areas in the Udalguri district. 

According to reports, the department has formed special task forces to deal with the menace and drive away the herd of elephants descending into human habitation areas and paddy fields from the hills. 

The elephant herds have been frequented in villages near Khalingduar Reserve Forest and Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Talking to this correspondent, Udalguri Dhansiri Forest Division DFO, Raju Kumar Brahma said, “The elephants have frequented the villages in search of food owing to the post-harvest season and we are having a tough time driving away the herds.” 

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He further said,” We have formed a squad to deal with the menace and driving elephants away is one of the tasks assigned to the team which also monitors jumbo-infested areas, monitors the movement of elephants with the help of village youths.” 

“We have also formed village-level monitoring committee by roping in youths whom we have distributed high-powered rechargeable torchlights to monitor and coordinate with the forest department to check on the movement of herds consisting of 100 to 150 elephants including jumbos”, he added.

He claimed that the government has been serious with the issue of ex-gratia compensation to the next kith and kins of man-elephant conflict victims. He added that compensation for those whose crops or property are damaged is also being looked at.

“A swift mechanism has been enforced where the ex-gratia will be made available within a month or so”, he added.

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Forest Beat Officer, Paneri, Mrinmoy Hazarika said, “We have already formed a squad and successfully driven a herd consisting of 80-100 elephants from Paneri TE to Khalingduar Reserve Forest on Monday. Earlier a herd was driven from Murmela near Tangla town to Paneri TE.” 

Wildlife conservationist Nabajyoti Baruah speaking on the initiative said, “The government must focus on long-term measures such as removing encroachments, eviction of illegal resorts in elephant corridors and habitats.” 

According to official statistics, the Dhansiri division had reported nine human deaths as well as nine elephant casualties in the current year. 

Most of the elephant deaths were due to poisoning or electrocution.

Shajid Khan

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