‘Elephant Corridor’ Project in Bengal to Reduce Elephant-Human Conflict

Whether in North or South Bengal, elephant-human conflict is on the upsurge. Houses are destroyed, crops are damaged and lives are lost. The forest department has come up with a solution to create an elephant corridor.

According to the West Bengal Forest Minister Jyotipriya Mallick, this corridor will be created soon in Jangalmahal and North Bengal. The state has also tied up with the Japanese government agency ‘JICA’. The Minister said that JICA is giving Rs 620 crore for the construction of the corridor.

He said that the work will start in two months. If the corridor is made, the elephants will go back and forth in a single line. According to a former forest official, it is never possible to make the elephants walk in a single line. However, the forest minister said, “Why is it not possible?” When the elephant starts moving, it continues on the same path. The direction does not change.”

There will be a corridor between the two districts of Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri in North Bengal. Elephants pass through the back of the Bagdogra area into Nepal. So, Bagdogra will also have a corridor. Apart from this, elephant corridors will also be made in Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram in the jungles of South Bengal.

According to data from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, West Bengal recorded the highest number of elephant-human conflict deaths in 2020-21 alone. Two days ago, 3 people were killed by elephants in Jhargram city. However, various plans have been made repeatedly to prevent elephant attacks. A few years ago, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her concern about the death of an elephant in Jhargram district.

In 2000, the then state government issued a notification for the creation of an ‘Elephant Reserve’ in Mayurjharna covering a total area of 414 square kilometres with Bankura, Purulia and undivided West Midnapore. Although not progressed during the Left term, after the Trinamool came to power in February 2015 it was decided to create a Wildlife Wing (South Division) in Jhargram to implement the Mayurjharna project. But that work has not progressed yet. In this context, a former forest official says, If the Mayurjharna project was implemented, the elephant-human conflict could have been avoided.

The situation is the same in North Bengal. An elephant expert in North Bengal says that there are many obstacles in the way of elephant movement. So the elephants themselves have found a ‘bypass’ road. However, in this context, the Forest Minister says, “The new corridor will have reservoirs and food facilities.”

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