Poll boycott call over rampaging tuskers (India)


Times of India

Date Published

RAIPUR: At Raigarh’s Dharamjaigarh area, polls have assumed an elephantine dimension. Villagers have threatened to boycott Lok Sabha polls if the administration failed to rein in rampaging tuskers.

They alleged that while forest department does little to curb the menace, politicians too turn a blind eye. There are an estimated 1,500 voters in this area.

Villagers spend their nights atop trees or beat drums outside their houses to keep themselves safe from elephants, who continue migrating to Dharamjaigarh from neighbouring states. Movement of a herd of 50 has been tracked by locals and almost every day there homes and paddy fields are destroyed by the elephants.

Angry over the laidback attitude of the administration and government, locals at Purunga village have threatened to boycott polls on April 24. Ram Prasad, a local, said, elephants have attacked five houses in last 10 days and severely injured two villagers. “If we don’t get compensation and find a solution to the problem before Lok Sabha polls, we will neither vote nor allow any politician to enter our area,” he said.

Forest officials said, although they don’t have a permanent solution to the problem, the affected areas are continuously under vigil and tuskers are chased away to the forests whenever they receive a SOS. “We assure villagers of compensation,” a forest official said.