| The carcass of the elephant. (PTI) |
Borjhar, Aug. 7: A male elephant was electrocuted around midnight on Wednesday after it came into contact with a live wire in Udaypur, a forest village along the Assam-Meghalaya border in Kamrup district.
Sources said the animal was one of the two elephants from the nearby Jarasal reserve forest that had entered a residential area around 8pm on Wednesday, destroying paddy saplings for about four hours in the forest village.
Herds of wild elephants from the Jarasal and Kawashing reserve forests, about 10km from Rani reserve forest, enter the villages in the area almost every night. Udaypur is about 35km from Guwahati.
Residents of the village said the power line was single phase. “The electricity department and the authorities of the East Kamrup forest division are to be blamed for the animal’s death,” one of them said.
In some areas, the particular power line was seen precariously hanging, posing a threat to both animals and humans. “Since wild elephants frequently come to the area, the power department should have been serious in doing the needful. After all, we had informed them about the danger this particular wire posed to the animals,” another resident said.
The range officer of Rani forest, Robin Baishya, said in some areas “electric wire was found to be dangling”. He said he had asked the electricity subdivision to take steps to prevent recurrence of such an incident.
“I have asked the authorities to rearrange the conductor so that trunk of elephants does not come in contact with the wire,” Baishya said.
The manager of Azara electrical sub-division, Durga Dutta, said they would soon take steps in this regard. “We will rearrange the electric wires in the sensitive areas to prevent such incidents in future,” he said.
Given the largescale elephant depredation in the forest fringe villages of the area, the forest department had in October assured to erect electric fences along a 2km stretch from Belguri to Nalapara to prevent wild elephants from entering the area. However, the move is yet to materialise.
The Rani area is a major man-elephant conflict zone with about 20 people trampled by wild elephants in the past decade and a half.
The interstate habitat (6,850 square km), which covers Kamrup and Goalpara districts of Assam and five districts of Meghalaya, is home to significant population of elephants.