Two elephants went on a rampage at Mikir Bamuni Grant in Nagaon district of Assam, causing extensive damage to properties in the area, locals said on August 25.
The incident occurred late night on August 24 when two wild elephants strayed from their herd and came in contact with human settlement. Locals said that the duo damaged two houses, a road-side eatery and the boundary fencing of a solar power company located near the village.
In yet another episode of man-animal conflict, the villagers at Mikir Bamuni Grant, located around 18 km southeast of Nagaon, had to spend sleepless nights due to the recurring visits of the elephants.
The incident took a political turn on August 25 when several local activists alleged that the solar power plant located at the area falls under an elephant corridor. “The Azure solar power plant is being made blocking an elephant corridor. This is causing us many problems,” a villager said.
Meanwhile, Azure Power released an official statement claiming that it possesses all the required no-objection certificates and other documents for the solar plant. “We are aware of the occasional sightings of elephants in and around Mikir Bamuni village and understand that their safety is important to us. Due to heavy rainfall in the area for the past 24 hours, there could be a possible elephant movement. Two elephants were spotted around midnight on August 24, near the project site. They entered the site from one side and left through a different route,” the company informed.
“We would like to assert that all due diligence was followed for the procurement of the site. Azure Power possesses a clear no-objection certificate from the forest department, which mentions that the land is not under any notified elephant corridor. Conforming to international best practices, the project site is also assessed by a third party – Arcadis India, an international environmental consultant – which undertook an environment and social impact assessment of the project site in 2019, where it was established that the nearest elephant corridor is 90 kms from the project site,” the company further added.
The solar power company has been in news lately for setting up of the project at an alleged elephant corridor at Mikir Bamuni. The 15-MW solar power project aims to solve the electricity needs of the area but repeated man-animal conflicts have led to activists questioning the government on the permission given to the company.