|Jumbos won’t cross this bridge
March 09, 2011
Moushumi Basu | Dhenkanal (Odisha)
Elephants reject Rs 6-crore artificial corridor in Dhenkanal
ongoing Rengali Left Bank Canal Irrigation Project on the Brahmani
River that promises an economic boom in Odisha has, however, ushered
doom for nearly 360 villages of Dhenkanal and the adjacent districts in
the State, throwing them in the throes of bitter man-elephant conflict.
The project’s final phase is in full swing and is slated for completion
in June 2011.
According to the official figures of the State
forest department, out of the average human death toll of 65 across the
State during the last six years, 30-35 cases have been reported from
Dhenkanal alone, due to the construction of the project.
by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and implemented by
the State Government, the project has destroyed the traditional habitat
of the national heritage animal as it passes through the parent
habitats of reserve forests in Dhenkanal, Kapilash and Anantpur under
the Dhenkanal Forest Division.
Pointing to the alarming
situation, Biswajit Mohanty, Secretary Wildlife Society of Orissa,
Member of National Board For Wildlife, has written to Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh for withdrawal of environment and forest
clearances to the project. “The State Government, has completed just
one crossing path at Brahmania village near Kamakhyanagar,” he pointed
out, adding more such corridors was the need of the hour.
6-crore artificial jumbo corridor, locally called Haati Bridge,
constructed along the length of the canal to reorient the path of the
jumbos has been rejected by the pachyderms. Instead, the wild herds of
pachyderms are now entering the villages killing humans, trampling
their fields and courtyards and damaging their houses.
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