Elephants wreak havoc in Patharkandi village once again
The residents of Patharkandi constituency of Karimganj district have been at the receiving end of innumerous attacks by wild elephants in the past. Sleepless nights have become a norm for the villagers here. They have been left to deal with such sudden rampages despite of all their calls for help from the forest officials.
In yet another attack this Thursday, 7 houses were rampaged in Kukitol village of Patharkandi constituency by a herd of 6 wild jumbos in the wee hours of Friday. 2 domesticated animals were also killed in the attack.
Local residents said the elephants went on a rampage on Thursday, destroying tea plants and trampling paddy fields in different areas. Though the animals have been causing destruction from time to time every year, the forest department remains oblivious to the matter, they alleged.
A local resident, Balmiki Das, said the elephants had razed many houses, killed animals and damaged farmland in the past. The residents demanded the animals to be caught and sent to a wildlife sanctuary or any other protected place.
In the recent few weeks, the wild herd is said to have rampaged several other villages in the constituency which include Hatikhira, Tilbhum, Champabari, Medli, Putni, Bhumrighat, Adomtilla, Chandkhira, Sonakhira, Dewlakhal, Jorbari among others.
Officials said that there were 9 elephants in the herd however 3 of them were killed in unknown circumstances during their previous rampages. Although no humans were killed in these recent rampages, over 20 animals were said to have been mauled to death.
Officials also said that the herd also usually enters into the Bangladesh side of the border which is why no one individual person or authority can be held responsible for these attacks.
Patharkandi forest ranger Sukhdeb Saha on Friday said they had visited the damaged areas and taken stock of the situation. Torch-lights and crackers have been distributed among the villagers to scare away the jumbos, he said. Compensation would be provided by the government to those who had suffered losses, Saha added.
Asked why the jumbos were not caught and sent to a protected place, he said the forest range does not have necessary equipment for the task. Saha also cited staff shortage as one of the major reasons for which they have not been able to resolve the problem so far.
These attacks have also rendered crops and paddy fields useless resulting into a major reason of distress for farmers, labourers and their families. Also, with little to no help from the officials, such incidents are very likely to persist in the future as well.