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Monday, September 26, 2011

Khalingduar RF witnesses attempt to end man-elephant conflict in India

Situated on the remote Indo-Bhutan international border, Khalingduar RF (Reserve forest) under Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri, (location 26 52' 14E and 91 53' 01E/elevation 270 M from sea level) has always been a unique virgin beauty of nature. With an area of 7033 hectares, Khalingduar is the abode of many rare species of flora and fauna and really deserves a berth next to none in the field of biodiversity. The important animals which can be seen in the RF are elephant, marble cat (a very rare species of wild cat), tigers wild buffalo, bison, common langur, wild dog, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, chital, hyenea, wild pig and common fox. Among birds, horn bills and peacocks are important. Kuha Ban, a different types of grass could be seen on either side of the Nonoi river. Unfortunately due to poor infrastructure and step motherly treatment of the government, the surface areas of the reserve forest have been decreasing day by day rapidly due to deforestation. According to local people most of the forest resources had been destroyed during 1990 to 2003 period. The then government in power gave a free hand to SULFA people who destroyed 80 to 90 percent of the forests and wild animals in Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Khalingduar Reserve forest.The southern side of the RF has been used as the grazing land for thousands of cattle thereby causing untold damage both to animals and plants. The two PRFs (proposed Reserve Forest ) under Nonoi range namely, Newlee, Kundarbill 2nd and 3rd edition attached to Khalingdar RF have never been declared as RF for decades resulting in heavy damages to the forest and wildlife. Thousands of hectares of land belonging to these PRF have already been encroached for tea plantation. Another plot of 2500 bighas of forest land on Samrang elephant corridor on Newllee hills have been encroached by a religious organization for commercial use. This has blocked the age old Samrang elephant corridor forcing wild elephants to roam in the nearby villages. All these activities of deforestation had been responsible for the so called man -elephant conflict in which seven wild elephants and eight human being have lost lives in just three months.
TR Pegu, SDPO,Bhergaon Subdivision in association with Debajit Deuri,SP,Udalguri and Haladhar Kalita,Range Officer,Nonai Range Office under Khalingduar RF. tried a novel method to bring the situation under control.As a part of massive awareness programme, Ganesh Puja was arranged inside the RF on September 24.Five trucks load of banana trees and sufficient quantities of salts were placed well inside the forest for the wild elephants. This has been the third such kind of offering by police and forest officials. The programme was well attended by representatives of various NGOs, organizations, associations including- WWF (North Bank Landscape Programme);WTI (Wildlife Trust of India),Kokrajhar;ABSU Udalguri and Bagsa district committee; ABSU, Dimakuchi and Harisinga Anchalik committee; Green Valley Forest and Wildlife Protection Society;Tangla Press Club; Kalaigaon Press Club; NDFB (P);Bengali Students Federation etc. A formal discussion was arranged at Nonai Forest Range Office at 12 noon. Senior journalist of NE India Samudragupta Kashyap of Indian Express group attended the discussion as the chief guest. Thanking all the people of Udalguri for coming out to solve the long pending problems likedeforestation, encroachment resulting man-elephant conflict,he said that he had been maintaining an additional relationship with wildlife conservation activities. He remarked that Khalingduar Reserve Forest and Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary could easily draw international attention with good infrastructure proper exposure.DN Hazarika,Circle Officer,Harisinga Revenue Circle,Tangla;Buddhi Ram Boro, president, Udalguri district ABSU;BK Olongbar, Organising Secretary of NDFB (P);Sanjoy Gogoi of WWF;Ratan Deka (former SULA);Jayanta Kumar Das,senior journalist of Udalguri;Haladhar Kalita,Range officer ,Nonai;Diganta Sarma, Secretary, Tangla Press Club; Narayan Deka, journalist;Ananta Bagh,CEO,Green valley Forest and Wildlife Protection Society etc also offered valuable suggestions to end the man-elephant conflict in the district. Ragen Gogoi,Senior Asstt.Manager of Nonai TE anchored the proceeding of the discussion.

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