Representative image. Courtesy - Pratidin Time

A herd of wild elephants has been creating havoc in Tezpur sub-division of Assam’s Sonitpur district over the last one week.

The wild pachyderms have already damaged large tracts of standing crops.

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Villagers of Tezpur sub-division especially Bihoguri, Becheria Rangapara and Chariduar are spending sleepless nights.

The herd that consist of around 60 wild jumbos come from Sonai Rupai Reserve forest and after crossing National Highway 15 has been unleashing terror for the villagers.

The wild herd damaged several huts on Sunday night at Arimora, though there was no harm to human lives.

The group strayed along Arimara Chapori north bank of the river Brahmaputra.

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After dask the wild elephants enter the village area and try to crossing National Highway 15.

Several hectors of standing crops at the paddy fields have already been destroyed.

Though the Sonitpur west division Forest department officials have been trying to push back the herd, they have failed so far.

Hiten Baishya, official of WWF, Tezpur and elephant expert said the WWF officials are helping the Tezpur forest officials to protect the villagers from the wild elephants.

He said the forest officials are relentlessly trying, but they do not have sufficiant man-power and equipment in entire Assam resulting in such type of situations that occur regularly.

Earlier, the villagers of Bihoguri on Saturday blocked the National Highway at Bihoguri alleging the failure of the Forest department to provide security to the villagers from wild elephants.

The villagers alleged that forest officials of Tezpur Sadar Range office are not providing protection force timely in the affected area.

Meanwhile, Sonitpur district administration held a meeting on man-elephant conflict.

The meeting sought solutions to mitigate the ongoing man-elephant conflict in the district.

The meeting was held at the conference hall of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Saturday evening in the presence of senior officials of the district administration, forest department officials, heads of various government departments concerned and PRI representatives.

Sonitpur deputy commissioner Manvendra Pratap Singh directed the circle officers of Chariduar, Dhekiajuli and Tezpur revenue circles to hold circle level coordination meetings and seek the support of the local villagers to work in coordination with the forest and police department officials to solve the issue.

Issues related to habitat loss of elephants due to deforestation, crop damage compensation, speed of trains running near the elephant corridor, unmanned crossings, among others were also discussed in the meeting.

The deputy commissioner directed APDCL authorities to monitor all electricity lines and fix all sagging lines if any at the earliest.

Speaking at the meeting, he said there is the need to seek long-term solutions to this problem by studying the movement and habits of elephants which come out of reserve forest areas nearby every year with proper planning and implementation.

He also appealed to the citizens to be more aware and conscious about their actions and work towards peaceful existence of human and wildlife in a suitable environment.

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