The Forest department of Dhemaji recently launched a project to minimise the man-elephant conflict in the rural areas adjacent to reserve forest (RF) in the district. The department has erected GI string along the reserve forest boundary at fringe villages, which has been operated by a pair of solar sets (solar plate and battery) to give shock to elephants coming out to human habitations.
The shockstring project for elephant resistance worth Rs 2.90 lakh was recently inaugurated by local MLA, Bhuban Pegu in presence of Dhemaji DC, Roshni Apranji Korati, Divisional Forest Officer, Prasant Dhanda, local villagers and leaders.
According to villagers of the fringe area, shockstring connected with solar panel is preventing the wild tuskers from entering into their villages and crop fields. They are maintaining a close contact with Forest officials and taking responsibility of guarding the shockstring and other assets.
Jonai Ranage Officer (i/c), Hiren Medok informed that maintenance of the battery-operated shockstring is owned by the fringe villagers. The Forest department along with WWF activists conducted a series of meetings on man-elephant conflict in the fringe villages and gained positive response on the remedial measures.
“We have conducted meetings with the fringe villagers and sought their help in minimising elephant havoc. Proposal has been submitted to Mising Autonomous Council for sanctioning more shockstring projects to cover remaining sites of fringe area. We are also taking up banana plantation project at degraded forests inside the RF to meet fodder need of the wild tuskers,” Medok informed.
The Forest department is also implementing project of firewood plantation schemes under ‘Joint Forest Management’ covering degraded forest portions in Poba RF. The department is involving the fringe villagers in plantation activities. It also submitted a project proposal for 400 units of bio-gas production, which is waiting necessary approval. The objective of the bio-gas production project is to minimise tree felling and produce organic manure from cow and buffalo dung waste for cooking purposes.
It may be mentioned here that herd of wild jumbos come out from Poba RF and create havoc in rural areas of Leku-Jelom, Rigbi, Gine-Mohmara and Bahir-Sille villages every year and make extensive damages in crop fields and grain-store houses. There is an elephant corridor at river-site portion of the RF linking to Dibru Saikhowa sanctuary (Upper Assam) and Daying Ering Wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal.
According to environmentalists, man-elephant conflict is an increasing trend due to gradual destruction of elephant habitat and food crisis besides resistance of free elephant movement along the corridors.