East Burdwan farmers deny jumbo passage fearing rampage
At least 100 personnel of the forest department have been unable to drive away a herd of 49 elephants, including seven calves, from East Burdwan’s Ausgram as local villagers have not allowed the animals to cross their paddy fields since Thursday night fearing damage to crops.
“We drove away the animals 8km towards Bankura but the move had to be halted late on Thursday night following protests by some villagers in Ausgram who apprehended loss to their crops if the elephants walked through their fields,” said a senior forest official in East Burdwan.
“We have approached the local administration to help convince the villagers that the longer the elephants stay in the area, more will be the damage. After we failed to drive away the elephants, our team launched a renewed effort on Friday,” the official added.
The elephant herd entered East Burdwan through an unusual route, posing a challenge for foresters to handle them. The animals travelled around 25km through East Burdwan, a district having inadequate infrastructure to tackle elephants.
To help forest personnel, the department had hired a team of experts to drive away the elephants. On Thursday night, 100 foresters and experts had split up into four teams to chase the elephants back to the forests of Bankura.
“We took every possible measure to drive away the elephants towards Bankura. But we met with resistance from villagers,” said Nisha Goswami, the DFO of East Burdwan.
“We understand the anguish of the villagers. The elephants love to have ripe paddy. There are thousands of acres of ripe paddy in the district and the elephants can destroy the crop,” said a forest department official.