Chhattisgarh planning ‘Elephant Villages’ to counter tusker terror

May 30th, 2009 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, May 30 (IANS) Worried over the increasing incidences of man-elephant conflict, the Chhattisgarh government is planning to set up villages for wild elephants in areas hit hard by jumbo attacks, an official said Saturday.
Such villages are proposed to be set up in the state’s northern region where jumbo attacks have claimed the lives of dozens of people in the past two decades.

“The Chhattisgarh government is desperate to find a permanent solution to the decades-old man-elephant conflict and is willing to work on a proposal by Earth Matters Foundation (an NGO), which has suggested the setting up of Elephant Villages to help keep the wild jumbos from civilian forested areas,” a forest department official told IANS.

Earth Matters Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government in December 2007 to help find a solution to the rising elephant menace. In its recent proposal, it suggested that Elephant Villages be set up in about 1,000 acres of forested land with sheds and other facilities for the elephants to keep them from entering human inhabited areas.

The proposal was submitted by Mike Pandey, founder of the NGO, during a meeting here this week with Chief Minister Raman Singh and other officials.

“The government is willing to carry it (proposal) out,” the official added.

Chhattisgarh’s northern region, comprising Surguja, Jashpur, Koria, Korba and Raigarh districts, regularly witness cases of man-elephant conflict.

The state government annually pays villagers in this region millions of rupees in compensation for the loss in human lives and the massive damage caused to houses and crops. Sometimes villagers migrate to safer places for a week or more to avoid the sudden night-time attacks of the wild elephant herds.

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