The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
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MLA threat to kill wild jumbo herd

Kohima, March 21: A Nagaland legislator today threatened to kill a herd of elephants creating havoc in four villages of Zunheboto district unless the government takes preventive measures.

Khekaho Assumi, Congress MLA from Akuluto constituency in the district, told the Assembly today that a herd of around 45 elephants has been destroying farmland in the four villages of Litami Old, Litami New, Mukhami and Phesumi in the VK sub-division for the past couple of years but the government has done nothing. “I will allow villagers to gun down the herd if no preventive measures were taken,” he said.

Y. Patton, minister for forest, ecology and environment, however, said whenever any complaint was received from the affected farmers, officials assessed the damages and paid compensation to them. But Congress legislators countered the claim saying the compensation was too meagre.

“The elephants come from your constituency,” Assumi told Patton. “Either you take them back or we will shoot them down.” But the minister said he, too, was facing jumbo menace in his constituency, which is not far from the VK sub-division.

Recently, Assumi convened a meeting with people to take stock of the problem and decided to provide land for an elephant sanctuary. “We are ready to allot a plot for the sanctuary,” the MLA said.

Patton promised to take up the matter with forest officials if the villagers were willing to provide land. He said he would discuss the matter with the officials for community-based wildlife conservation in the area and asked Assumi to further negotiate with the landowners.