Guwahati: In a tragic incident, a man was trampled to death and five others injured by a herd of wild elephants in Assam’s Baksa district on Saturday night.
The incident took place at Khairani village.
The deceased has been identified as Ravindra Boro, while others injured are identified as Dhanpati Boro, Anil Daimary, Paresh Boro, Thengona Musahari, and Sulendra Boro.
According to locals, the elephant herd entered the region in search of food from the nearby forest. While several locals attempted to frighten the elephant herd at the time, elephants attacked the people.
The injured persons were immediately taken to a private hospital in Rangia, while Anil is in critical condition.
Local claimed that “This is not the first incident that an elephant has killed a man in this village, earlier also numerous people had perished as a result of elephant attacks.”
“Elephant entered the village and destroyed several houses besides damaging paddy fields”, a local added.
“The forest department was informed, however, they never arrived at the scene”, a local claimed.
“Due to the elephant herd, we villagers faced difficulties every day, but no official from the forest department came to assist us”, another local man claimed.
Elephant-human confrontations have been on the rise in Assam due to habitat loss, however, experts say such conflicts could get worse unless forested areas are protected and migration corridors restored.
As per the official data, at least 229 humans lost their lives in Assam in the past three years from 2019-2022.
In 2019, as many as 75 humans lost their lives in the state, while in 2020 around 91, and in 2021, 63 humans were killed in an elephant attack.
During the Assembly, Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that “As many as 924 people got killed, while around 772 people injured in man-elephant conflicts in Assam in the last 10 years.”
Meanwhile, replying to a query by BJP MLA Terash Gowalla, the minister stated, “The conflicts were mostly reported from 16 districts — Goalpara, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Nagaon, Hojai, Udalguri, Baksa, Majuli, Golaghat, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Chirang, Tinsukia, Kamrup, Darrang and Sivasagar.”
However, in addition, the central ministry provides financial and technical assistance to states and UTs under the centrally-sponsored ‘Project Elephant’ scheme for the protection and conservation of elephants and their habitats in the country.
“To reduce man-elephant conflict and to avoid retaliatory killing of elephants, compensation is provided to local communities for loss of their property and life,” said official
“Enhancement of Ex-gratia compensation for the loss of life due to human-animal conflict from Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs”, officially added.
However, Assam is home to around 5,719 Asian elephants, the second largest elephant population in India.