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Locals’ help sought to save elephant corridors in Sonitpur dist

The Deputy Commissioner of Sonitpur district, Narsing Powar urged the local people of greater Bihaguri and Depota area to remain vigilant and volunteer in preserving the traditional elephant corridors at Na-Ali and Depota area.

which is often used by the wild elephants as their corridor, the Deputy Commissioner reiterated that the local people have to contribute in preserving the elephant corridors in the greater interest of bio-diversity conservation.
Appreciating the efforts of the Forest Department for their hard work in the eco-preservation movement, he mentioned that no illegal construction would be allowed in the area and there will be a probe into the already-constructed boundary walls in the area.

Attending the programme, Conservator of Forest P Siv Kumar said that the outskirts of Tezpur town like Depota, Na Ali, Muamari, Bindukuri, Ghoramari, Misamari, Balipara etc., touching National Highway-15 and connecting the southern part of the district till Singri and Orang National Park on the bank of the Brahmaputra have been habitually used by migrating wild elephants as safe corridors ever since recorded history.

“Unfortunately, backed by some unscrupulous people of the area, a section of industrialists were trying to set up a food park in the area by blocking the aforementioned traditional elephant corridors, which has invariably compounded the already serious man-elephant conflict situation.”

P Siv Kumar added that due to blocking of the traditional elephant corridors in the district in the name of industrialisation by entities like Patanjali, Dabur, Daehesan Co Ltd etc., at Balipara and other areas, the wild pachyderms have lost their grazing grounds following which the lumbering grey giants have been creating mayhem in the adjoining villages by trampling on humans and domestic animals alike, besides damaging dwelling houses. Many lives, i.e., of humans, animals and the marauding elephants, have been lost in this avoidable tug-of-war between the species over the depleting scarce resources.

Moreover, on the sidelines of the programme, briefing mediapersons, the Conservator of Forest also stated that the Forest Department has been minutely observing the covert bid by certain anti-social elements to encroach upon the elephant corridors in the Depota-Na Ali area for narrow commercial gain even at the cost of bio-diversity conservation.

Not surprisingly, good work by the Forest Department over the years by very sincere personnnel even at the risk of life and limb has often goes unsung and unrewarded, he rued.

“Land in the area which has been used since time immemorial as elephant corridor is being purchased by some unscrupulous industrialists by changing their classification in cahoots with government officials for commercial benefits. This well-oiled nexus needs to be identified, busted and awarded exemplary punishment,” he said.

“As a result of such activities, the wild elephant herds which are perennially on the move in search of fresh fodder and water, are compelled to use risk-zones like railway tracks, following which a number of confused and panicky jumbos have already been killed after being hit by trains in the district. In order to check such discrepancies, strict action is a must against violators of forest rules,” he emphasised.

Besides a handful of mediapersons, the event was attended by the DFO of Sonitpur, (West Division) Ranjit Konwar and honorary wildlife warden Saurav Barkataki.

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