BHEL TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS LIVE IN CONSTANT FEAR OF ELEPHANTS
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 | PNS | Haridwar-
The residents of BHEL township and its adjacent areas are now living under the constant threat of elephants straying into the township. While they blame the forest officials for failing to repair the protective walls now crumbling here and there, the forest officials on their part lament over the want of funds that is keeping them away from “mending the walls”.
Things are, however, grim for the residents. They have stopped going out for morning or evening walks with the threat of being trampled upon by the jumbos dangling over them.
On Monday, a resident of Shivlok Colony Rajnikant Shukla, who is a retired teacher, while out on his morning walk in the BHEL township froze in fear as he saw a full-sized pachyderm staring him in the face near Masjid Mod. “I turned back and ran for my life. I fell and bruised my knee and hand,” he said.
Notably, a vegetable vendor Chander from Tibdi area had been trampled to death by a jumbo on Saturday night when he had gone into the forest to collect firewood.
The scared residents said that elephants have been wandering into the residential colonies for the past ten days and more. “They are entering mostly during the early morning hours and also after darkness descends.
They are being seen nearly daily along the Haridwar BHEL Road. The same is true of leopards which are creeping their way into the colonies to prey on the domesticated cattle and the pet dogs.
To ensure safety of the residents from attacks from the wilds, a stone-made boundary wall was erected in 2014 with crores of rupees spent. However, it is now crumbling at many places, making us vulnerable again to the wildlife,” said a senior citizen residing in a colony in BHEL township.
What is learnt from the foresters is strange. They just need a paltry ` 6 lakh from the government to have the damaged parts of the protective wall repaired, a sum which is eluding them despite repeated reminders.
The police station in-charge of Ranipur, Aishwarya Pal is learnt to have written to the director of Rajaji Tiger Reserve, warning that the wall remaining unrepaired would invite more deaths in chance encounters with wildlife.
Pal said, “Nearly every day, the elephants are straying into the residential colonies situated in the vicinity of Rajaji. It is the responsibility of the tiger reserve officials to repair the damaged parts of the wall. If nothing happens we would approach the higher authorities.”
However, the director of Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Sanatan Sonkar, when quizzed passed the buck to the State Government saying that they could do little until the required funds were released. “We have received a lot of complaints. We are fully alive to the gravity of the situation. But we can hardly do anything unless the State Government releases the funds,” he added.
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