Elephants give sleepless nights to tribal people in Chhattisgarh
RAIPUR: Herds of elephants, migrating from Jharkhand
and Odisha, are giving sleepless nights to villagers of over a dozen hamlets in
Chhattisgarh. With elephant menace at its peak, locals from Raigarh, Jashpur
and Korba districts are spending nights on trees, left with no option, but to
shiver out in the open.
Hapless villagers said tuskers frequently raid crops
at nights, while returning into the thickets at dawn. “It terrifies us when we
hear elephants trumpeting and have to storm out of our homes to save our lives.
The trouble makers damage our homes in search of food leaving us without
shelter in the middle of night,” said Dudharu Jagat, a resident of Jamtoli.
Jamtoli remains most affected, where a woman was
trampled to death and over eight houses were damaged in a week’s time. “With
crops ready by winters and stocked at homes, tuskers get access to easily
available food and mahua fruit, they are fond of,” said Barno Saay.
Divisional forest officer, K Miachieo, said locals are
being asked not to go to forests to collect firewood or relieve themselves and
avoid direct conflict with elephants.
“Under 'Gajaraj' scheme, the state government will
soon provide storage rooms to farmers, so that they can stock their crops. The
scheme will also facilitate fencing around villages and provide torches to
villagers,” the DFO said.
Our priority is to bring down elephant attack cases,
which have decreased in last three years, he added.
Villagers of Raigarh’s Dharamjaigarh region, Korba’s
Bundeli and Mudunara region, expressed helplessness in saving their crops and
houses from being damaged by elephant attack. They form groups called ‘hulla
party’, beat drums and burst crackers to chase the tuskers out of human
Locals said full-grown crops are ready to be taken to
markets, but they are scared that the herd might chase or attack them. “Currently,
there are around 200 elephants in the region and it has become like a habitat
for them. They roam around in herd of 50 and can’t be chased away easily.”