Man-jumbo conflict toll in Assam crosses 1000
Altogether 761 people and 249 elephants died in human-elephant conflict between 2010 and 2018, Assam forest minister Parimal Sulkabaidya told the Assembly on Thursday.
The minister was replying to a question by Congress Chaygaon MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed.
Dhansiri wildlife division recorded the highest number of human deaths (130), followed by Sonitpur West (82) and Goalpara (76), and the year 2015 saw the most deaths (149) during this period. This year, three have already died in human-elephant conflict.
On the other hand, 25 elephants died in 2010, 15 in 2011, 28 in 2012, 22 in 2013, 32 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 32 in 2016 and 46 in 2017.
The highest number of elephant deaths during this period was because of electrocution (92), followed by train accident (54), accidental (38), poisoning (30), poaching (20) and injury (15).
People also lost their houses and crops in human-elephant conflict during this period. Altogether 1,021 houses and 1,954 bighas of crop were destroyed in 2017-18 while the corresponding numbers in 2018-19 were 2,034 and 5,661. The total area of cropland destroyed by elephants between 2010-11 and 2018-19 was 40,973.
Suklabaidya said Rs 85.74 crore ex gratia has been released in the past eight years on account of human-elephant conflict.
Suklabaidya said to stop the conflict, the forest department has formed an anti-depredation squad whose members have been equipped with torchlights, searchlights, fire crackers and kerosene. He said in some areas, solar fencing has been used to keep elephants at bay.
The minister also said there is no stone quarry near elephant corridors in Kaziranga National Park. There are some quarries in Karbi Anglong district, but these are more than 2km away from the elephant corridors of the national park.
He said there are no guidelines regarding distance between elephant corridors and stone quarries.