aims to end conflict - Jumbos on rampage in hills
Dec. 27: Human-elephant
conflicts continue to displace many villagers
in Meghalaya’s Garo hills.
A police report said
on December 17,
a herd of wild elephants destroyed the house of Menjing Sangma and four
at Kalapara village in West Garo Hills.
On December 21, wild
attacked Colon M. Sangma at Rongdong village in South Garo Hills. The
who sustained injuries was shifted to the civil hospital in Tura.
A forest department
said the victims’ families can claim compensation according to rules
set up by
The official, however,
the government was yet to adopt any long-term strategy to deal with
incidents of human-elephant conflict.
Last year, an injured
went on the rampage in many villages and killed four in the forest area
Selsella in West Garo Hills.
The incident forced
the villagers to
abandon the place for some days.
According to the
official, the main
reason for the conflict is the encroachment of forest areas used by
to move from one place to another.
Many of these areas
have been used
Garo hills-based Samrakshan Trust, an NGO, is on the job to help the
According to the NGO,
conflicts occur because of conversion of barren lands for crop
ways that are not compatible with the survival of the elephants.
monoculture cash crops
such as cashew, areca nut, rubber, coffee and tea; horticulture crops
pineapple, citrus and temperate fruits and spices such as ginger, and
forests and drastically reduce the habitat suitable for the elephants
their ecological requirements.
The focus of
initiative is a “win-win” situation where farmers benefit from better
without drastic change in use of land.
Kamal Medhi, the team
manager of the
NGO has recently said that learning from various experiences in the
that have had similar objectives under comparable circumstances, “we
attempting to assist farmers to intensively cultivate small plots of
a judicious combination of food and commercial crops”.
TURA:A visit by a
high-level NCP delegation to a relief camp in Assam housing displaced
from East Garo Hills turned ugly after they were gheraoed by a mob,
Assam police to open blank fire and lathicharge the crowd. Union
State for Rural Development Agatha K Sangma, Leader of the Opposition
Sangma and Tura MLA Purno A Sangma were in the team.
Agatha and her
delegation had paid a day-long
visit to the trouble-torn district of East Garo Hills. The Union
her father Purno A Sangma met the State Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh,
Minister Augustine Marak and C&RD Minister FW Momin at Resubelpara
house. Both sides agreed that confidence-building measures was the need
of the hour.
meeting, the NCP team's convoy
arrived at Dilma relief camp to meet the inmates.
Having been made
aware of the exodus of a
large number of Rabhas from Resubelpara-Mendipather area into
Assam, the Union Minister decided to visit some of the relief camps
displaced were kept in that State.
which also included press
persons, was taken to Sotomatia village, in Dudhnoi area, where a
number of people fleeing Garo Hills had taken shelter. Former MLA of
Pranay Rabha, was present to welcome the NCP team.
However, a group of
people in the crowd began
to allege that houses were being torched in the vicinity of the village
forced the Assam police present over there to go and investigate.
As soon as the
Assam police left the venue
the crowd became agitated to see the Meghalaya delegation and tension
with shouts decrying the ongoing violence in Garo Hills ranting the air.
The mob soon
swelled to several hundreds in
number and began arming themselves with daggers, spears, machetes, axes
other lethal weapons. They blocked the entry and exit routes and
vehicles from leaving the
to the angry crowd by PA
Sangma and Conrad Sangma to allow them to leave failed to materialize.
personnel from Meghalaya put out
a security cordon around the vehicle where the Agatha and Purno Sangma
the frenzied mob demanded that the leaders come out of their vehicles.
Some in the crowd
tried to push dry straws
underneath the vehicle while others filled empty bottles with petrol.
Frantic calls were
made to the authorities in
Assam and Meghalaya as it became dark and the impasse continued for
The miscreants also
cut tree branches onto
the road and disconnected the electricity supply to the area.
As the situation
began to get out of hand
Dudhnoi police arrived on the scene but were unable to force the mob to
Commissioner of Goalpara, PK
Goswami, and Superintendent of police (SP) Louis Aind, arrived in the
time with two truckloads of armed police and women constables.
They opened fire in
the air and lathicharged
the crowd before the convoy could finally break free from the anger of
"In my 35 years as
a politician I have
seen many a mob fury but not like this. As Union Labour Minister I
mob anger from unions but today it was shocking to see men and women
get swayed by anger and pick up lethal weapons to threaten those who
peace," a shocked Purno Sangma revealed later.
"What has happened
unfortunate," said Agatha Sangma and expressed hope that confidence is
built between both communities at the earliest.
unpleasant incident, the East
Garo Hills district administration has taken a decision to strongly
MLAs and ministers not to go to Assam without prior permission under
Travel from Garo
Hills to Guwahati and
Shillong through Assam has been strongly advised against, the
The Balpakram National Park division of the forest
department rescued a young elephant last week with the help of the
Rongsa Awe Aking village in South Garo Hills and police.
The elephant had
fallen into a deep
gorge, while it was foraging along with the rest of the herd.
Guthan D. Shira, a
Rongsa Awe, first informed the police about the incident and requested
save the elephant.
“We received an
from the police department and our division responded immediately,”
Agrahari, divisional forest officer, BNP division.
It was a deep gorge
Jadigittim in South Garo Hills .
“The rescue effort
took a day and
villagers were a great help. We removed earth from one side of the
pull the elephant out,” said C.G. Momin, range forest officer of the
“We observed the
elephant until it
found the herd and disappeared into the forest,” Momin added.
Kamal Medhi, the
the Samrakhsan Trust, which is engaged in preservation and conservation
environment in Garo hills, said it was a positive sign that the people
engaged in saving the elephant.
“Conservation will be
with the active support of the people,” he added.
smugglers make a
Sept. 25: Bangladesh
has become the source of providing endangered
Indian flapshell turtles to markets in Meghalaya’s Garo hills.
turtles need to be protected
as these are categorised in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
buying or killing them is an offence.
Incidents of smuggling
Bangladesh to Sibbari in South Garo Hills are on the rise. Three Indian
flapshell turtles were seized on Thursday from Murry Marak, a fish
during a raid on the Sibbari market.
A forest and wildlife
the illegal trade of endangered turtle species had been on along the
border and Sibbari was one of the most popular markets for Indian
A forest official
smugglers from Bangladesh were supplying the turtles to Garo hills.
confessed that she had bought the turtles from a Bangladeshi named
According to Marak, Abdul regularly supplies turtles to select vendors
Sibbari market. Marak was caught red-handed while selling the turtles
forest official who posed as a buyer.
Forest range officer
National Park division, C.G. Momin, said the accused would be
the Wildlife Protection Act and measures would be initiated to tighten
along the borders to stop illegal wildlife trade.
most of the fish and vegetable vendors are involved in the sale of
According to Momin,
catch the turtles from rivers and bring these in utensils to sell to
vendors or customers in Garo hills.
According to Momin,
while the price
for 1kg of turtle meat is Rs 250 in Bangladesh, in Sibbari market the
Rs 350 a kg. The price escalates once these are smuggled to other parts
Kamal Medhi, the
Samrakshan Trust, an NGO, today said the trust, along with the forest
department, (BNP division), had been taking the initiatives to detect