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On treetops to skirt Elephants

Every family of Barmahari Chaparri village has treetop sheds on their premises where they take shelter after sunset
A temporary shed on a tree in Barmahari Chaparri near Numaligarh.
A temporary shed on a tree in Barmahari Chaparri near Numaligarh.
Picture by Sanjoy Hazarika

Sanjoy Hazarika   |   Bokakhat   |   Published 02.01.20, 10:34 PM

The 400-odd villagers of Barmahari Chaparri, on the Karbi Anglong-Golaghat boundary, 5km off National Highway 37 at Numaligarh Tiniali in Golaghat district, are spending sleepless nights at temporary sheds constructed on trees to save themselves from elephant depredation.

Each of the 60 families has such treetop sheds on their premises. After sunset the villagers climb up the trees to take shelter there. Though several people have been killed by elephants, the government is yet to come out with any solution.


The elephant herds come out from the Karbi hill, run amok damaging houses and croplands, the villagers have no option but to clamber up to the temporary sheds on treetops.

After visiting the village on Wednesday it was learnt that the very word “development” is a far cry for the villagers as drinking water facility, healthcare, road communication, educational institution and electricity are yet to reach the 400 villagers.

The site, between the Numaligarh Tea Estate and Karbi Rangchali hill under the Bokakhat Assembly constituency, does not have proper infrastructure.

The villagers drink water of a streamlet coming from the Karbi hill, contaminated with fluoride and arsenic flows through.

Similarly, the District Rural Development Authority even received award for Open Defecation Free (ODF) district but the villagers have to go out to the open field to response nature’s call.

The villagers have to depend the mobile medical service provided by Vivekananda Kendra Hospital, Numaligarh casually.

The children go to Barmahari Pathar Lower Primary school, a 3 km off for primary education while for high school the students have to walk 5 km to Numaligarh high school.

Among the villagers no government employee is there and all the villagers are only daily wagers. They have to go to Numaligarh area for wages with the risk of elephant menace.

Without having electricity they are bound to take dinner early in the afternoon as no proper facility of Kerosene supply to the villagers. They get 2/3 litre Kerosene once in two or three months.

“We are here living like an animal not as the people of independent India. After killing of several persons by elephants no solution was found till date.”, a resident said.

“The political party members are seen only before the election once in every five year.”, another resident said.

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