News By/Courtesy: Vagish | 19 May 2019 11:17am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Farmers in Surguja and other neighbouring districts have been at the centre of the man-animal conflicts that play out every few days in these parts.
  • The nod to bauxite mining, coal excavation and the resultant decrease in forest cover has given rise to a jumbo problem in several districts of Chhattisgarh where man-animal conflict is now rife.
  • According to data with the forest department, 42 people had died in 2017-18 in five districts of Surguja region in incidents related to man-elephant conflict

For several years, farmers in Surguja and other neighbouring districts have been at the centre of the man-animal conflicts that play out every few days in these parts. The nod to bauxite mining, coal excavation and the resultant decrease in forest cover has given rise to a jumbo problem in several districts of Chhattisgarh where man-animal conflict is now rife. These include districts of Raigarh, Korba as well as five districts namely,  Surguja, Balrampur, Surajpur, Jashpur and Koriya — that fall under the Surguja administrative division. Villagers have refrained from voting due to rise in elephant attacks and destruction caused by the elephants.

According to data with the forest department, 42 people had died in 2017-18 in five districts of Surguja region in incidents related to man-elephant conflicts. At least 1,743 houses were damaged in elephant attacks in the same period. In 2016-17, 50 people had died in elephant attacks in the region and 1,860 houses were damaged. The residents do not blame the animals but the authorities for snatching away the habitats of the animals. The elephants are migrant and the coal rich jungles in Chhattisgarh is their home after their displacement in 1990s when mines came up in their forests in Orissa and Jharkhand.

Residents say that before the forests were opened for coal mining, they co-existed peacefully with elephants. In the past, the Union Environment Ministry had granted forest clearance to coal mines in the area such as Tara Mines.  The state has 16% of the total coal deposits of India. 44483 million tonnes coal has been estimated in the 12 coal fields of the state situated in Raigarh, Surguja, Koriya and Korba districts.  The state ranks 2nd in coal production by contributing over 18% to the total national production.  117 villages of Surguja district are on elephant corridor.  Two interventions have been done. The administration has relocated the villages most effected by the conflict. Funds for rehabilitation and relocation was extracted from Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and relief funds. Elephant protection trenches were constructed the areas where there was high probability of man elephant conflict.

However, it was not possible to rehabilitate the inhabitants of all the 117 villages. To address this issue, Aanganwadi cum elephant crisis management centres in all the 117 villages were formed.  Many villagers in Chhattisgarh did not cast their vote due to elephant attacks. The forest department officials said that in the last month 40 elephants have been moved to Tamore Tingla National Park in Surajpur district which spans an area of over 60000 hectares.

 

 

 

 

Section Editor: Shreyashi Tiwari | 19 May 2019 11:24am IST


Tags : #Chattisgarh #Surguja #Village #Elephant_Attacks #Voting #Government #Apathy

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