Chhattisgarh to erect giant iron barricade to fend off jumbos (India)


Rabindra Nath Choudhury, The Asian Age

Date Published

The Chhattisgarh government is mulling options of building “grand” walls, proposed to be named after the architectural marvel “Buland Darwaza”, or “The Great Wall of Magnificence” of Fatehpur Sikri that symbolises might of the Mughal rule, to barricade villages perennially affected by elephant menace in the state.

The president of Chhattisgarh branch of Indian Forest Service officers’ Association, Kaushalendra Singh, has mooted the idea of building “mighty” walls made of used rail scraps around the villages to fend off elephants.

Chief minister Raman Singh was apprised of the plan to avoid man-animal conflict.

“The chief minister was receptive to the idea and wanted its feasibility explored,” a senior forest officer disclosed to this newspaper here on Saturday.

“The proposal for barricading the villages, affected by elephant menace, with walls made of used rail tracks was discussed in a meeting recently. But, it was yet to take shape,” K.C.Bebarta, additional principal chief conservator of forest, told this newspaper.

According to him, the Karnataka government has taken up a pilot project in some villages to tackle man-elephant conflict by raising walls made of used rail tracks around villages being frequented by wild tuskers. The measure has been found effective. Hence, there was a suggestion in the meeting to experiment with the measure in Chhattisgarh also.

Man-elephant conflict has of late escalated into almost unmanageable proportions in Chhattisgarh as it played havoc in the life of people in 1,200 villages in eight of 27 districts in Chhattisgarh.

According to a study by environmental group Green Peace, the man-elephant conflict has led to killing of more than 200 people in the state in the past one decade.

“The measures including solar fencing, bursting crackers and burning chilly to drive out wild elephants have so far proved ineffective,” a senior forest officer conceded.