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Device to drive away elephants

Dec. 31: After mosquito repellent, an indigenously-developed “elephant repellent” is trying to establish itself in some villages of Sivasagar district that were affected by marauding pachyderms.

With the onset of winter, elephant herds from the nearby Panidehing reserve forest turn up in huge numbers and destroy huts, standing crops and whatever comes in their way in search of fodder.

This year, too, the situation is no different. For the last couple of months, as farmers prepared to harvest paddy, herds of elephants went on a rampage in 20 villages including Teteliguri, Dehingmukh, Borgaon, Matiari, Singioni, Borpathar, Dolopa Misinggaon and Kokilamari in Panidehing.

The area is adjacent to Panidehing bird sanctuary.

To make matters worse, wild buffaloes — numbering around 100 — have also begun to venture into the paddy fields, making lives of the villagers even more miserable.

It was at this juncture that members of the Deori Students’ Union and the Deori Autonomous Council approached Aminuddin Ahmed of Ultoli village of the same district with a request to solve destruction of crops by herds of elephants and buffaloes.

Aminuddin has developed a low-intensity electronic device which has started yielding results.

“I have named the device Elephant Repellent. It is a low-intensity electronic device which consists of sirens, bulbs and wires connected to a 12-volt battery. The equipment is developed in such a way that when placed under the sun it can emit 1,500 volt power using solar energy. It is then transmitted through two parallel wires which can cover up to 5km,” he said.

“When the elephants come in contact with these wires, they get electric shocks that drive them away. If the elephants damage the wires, the sirens and the bulbs gets activated and generate a huge alarm, sparking panic among the elephants. They prefer to run away than proceed further.” From December 12, the equipment has been placed at Borgaon village of the area on a trial basis and the results are encouraging.

Five days later, a herd of about 20 wild buffaloes could not enter the village thanks to the new equipment.

“It is a new innovation and we will have to give serious thought to the process,” a forest department official said.

“The situation was so bad that some of us were thinking of stopping cultivation next year and relocating,” Padmadhar Gogoi, a villager from Singioni said.

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