News & Information From Northeast India

People in Assam’s Charaideo plant 6 lakh saplings to ward off wild elephants

Hundreds of people came together in Charaideo district of Assam to plan more than six lakh saplings between 11-12pm on Sunday to make people aware about man-animal conflict and ward off elephants from their paddy fields.

The villagers decided to cultivate paddy exclusively for wild elephants in a reserve forest. This has been aimed to keep off marauding herds from paddy fields in nearby human habitation. Man-elephant conflicts is a major problem in the region and people for long have been using different methods to keep off wild elephants – like poison, chilli bombs, electrified fence and even bee hives.

Sonari MLA Tapan Kumar Gogoi, who participated in the plantation drive along with a host of dignitaries, said that the district has been worst affected by the human-elephant conflicts which has taken several lives of humans and the elephants as well.

“Today we have planted a good number of banana, bamboo and elephant-apple saplings along the reserve forest areas. These are favourite foods of elephants. I think once these trees grow up, the elephants will stop coming to the residential areas. We are also planning to plant paddy seeds in and around reserve forests in the open places,” Gogoi told The News Mill on Sunday.

Though it will be seen how practical the idea would be, the MLA is hopeful of implanting it successfully with the support of the public.

“The kind of response we got today is immense. So, I’m confident of doing it successfully,” Gogoi added.

The neighbouring areas near the reserve forests like Abhaypur, Dilli, Sola and Rangoli have witnessed the worst scenario. The residents of Singlo Pathar and Noganodi Bongaon villages among others have faced the conflicts.

According to forest and environment minister Pramila Rani Brahma, at least 11 elephants have been poisoned and electrocuted to death in the last two years. Besides, a good number of jumbos have been mowed down by speeding trains in different parts of the state.

On the other hand, the wild elephants have trampled to death 149 people and damaged 1,880 hectares of crops in Assam in the past two years.

This human-animal conflict is increasing dangerously in different parts of the state.

Charaideo deputy commissioner Vivekanada Phukan said that the plantation event was successfully conducted. “I extend my heartiest thanks to one and all for their valuable support to the plantation programme,” said Phukan.

Padma Shree Jadav Payeng also joined the drive among others.

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