The terror of elephants has been haunting Bishenpur village and other adjoining villages during the sugarcane season. On Sunday mid- night, a herd of jumbos strayed into the village, rampaged through the sugarcane fields and feasted on the sugarcanes and potatoes grown over the fields. The farmers alleged that the elephants going on the rampage have destroyed crops standing on several hectares of the fields. It is also learnt that the ready to harvest sugarcanes standing on the fields goad the pachyderms to raid the fields and make a feast on them. The farmers said that they smell the sugarcane from a distance and raid the agricultural land in herds. “We are suffering the crop damage caused by the marauding elephants as the forest officers choose to look the other way,” a farmer whose land was raided alleged.
Small farmers living on the fringe of Rajaji Tiger Reserve have been fighting the menace for years as the elephants invade their lands and destroy their crops at regular intervals. They said that the pachyderms make their ways in the fields with standing crops and feast on them unhindered. “During the small hours of Sunday, the herd of elephants entered Bishenpur village and destroyed the harvest-ready crops sown by the villagers,” said a villager Fakir Ali.
“The forest officers hardly do the night patrolling. Besides, there is not adequate lighting arrangements on the boundaries of RTR and Haridwar forest division which makes it easy for the elephants to get into the villages,” he said while speaking to The Pioneer.
Ali further said, “We and our crops are insecure thanks to the marauding elephants. As per our experiences, the elephants come and raid the fields of Bishenpur, Misserpur, Kurkawala, Bandarpur, Majahidpur, Teliwala and Pherupur villages nearly daily.”
It is also alleged by the farmers that the forest guards are not doing night patrolling regularly. “The patrolling done by forest guards is not regular which is resulting in the rampant movement of the wild animals in the area. Add to it the defunct fencing light and our vulnerability is complete. We demand the defunct lights be replaced at the earliest,” said the head of Gram Panchayat Sukhna.
Quizzed over the matter, the forest ranger Haridwar range Ajay Sharma said, “The forest team is regularly patrolling the forest beats. We have written to the higher officials regarding the fencing problem and it would be fixed soon. Barbed wire has already been placed at most of the forest boundaries lying close to residential areas.”
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 | PNS | Haridwar