MARGHERITA, Nov 17: A group of wild elephants created havoc at the Pilkhana line of the Namdang Tea
Estate in Margherita in Tinsukia district, damaging six houses of tea garden workers at midnight on
Local residents claimed that wild elephants often stray into human habitation in search food, damaging
their property. They had even approached the forest department to find a solution to this problem.
However, their requests have so far failed to bring forth any response from forest officials.
“It is a regular routine of wild elephants to enter into our areas and vandalize our houses. We have
complained about this problem to Margherita west range forest officer Dharma Neog and Digboi forest
division DFO TC Ranjith Ram, but they have not shown any kind of response. It also takes years for
people whose properties have been damaged by wild animals to get a proper compensation from the
forest department,” said a local whose house was damaged by wild elephants on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, members of the Margherita regional committee of the Assam Tea Tribes Student
Association (ATTSA) led by the students’ union’s joint publicity secretary, Pranjal Baraik visited the
people whose homes have been damaged.
Pranjal Baraik said, “Due to rampant felling of trees in the reserved forest areas of Margherita, wild
elephants regularly enter into areas of human habitation in search of food and vandalized the property
of locals. Despite repeated requests, the Margherita West range forest officer and Digboi divisional
forest officer have not taken any appropriate steps in this regard.”
The students’ union also demanded that the state forest minister and the forest department to
immediately provide compensation to those whose houses were vandalized.
“The government should take stern action against corrupt forest officials and the timber syndicate who
are involved in the illegal felling of trees,” Baraik said.