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No Diwali celebration due to elephant menace

dimanche 13 novembre 2005

Driven to desperation by frequent intrusion of rogue elephants from neighbouring Jharkhand and Orissa, people of more than 100 villages in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur district have decided not to celebrate the festival of lights this year to protest the ’’government failure to tackle the decade-old problem’’.

’’Agitated villagers of Jashpur district have formed an action committee, which would organise a rally at the district headquarters on Diwali eve to protest against the failure of successive governments to curb the elephant intrusions,’’ said a leader of the action committee.

Besides, these villagers have also resolved not to accept any compensation from the government for the loss of propert caused by the rogue elephants.

Jashpur District Collector Dinesh Mishra told UNI that the action committee, comprising people from the villages of Bagicha and Manora development blocks, had sought permission to organise a rally. The administration, however, had refused permission and appropriate legal action would be taken if they staged demonstration, he said,adding the Sub Divisional Magistrate(SDM) had been asked to hold talks with the action committee.

’’The villagers are adamant to stage the demonstration at the district headquarters,’’ Mrs Phoolkeria Bhagat, who is heading the agitation, told UNI.

She said the state government was not serious in addressing the problem of the elephant menace. More than 100 wild pachyderms were roaming the state, causing destruction in the villages, she added.

Though the state had claimed to have spent a hefty amount in the past one decade either for capturing or pushing back the elephants to their ’home states’, none of the schemes had been successful, Mrs Bhagat said.

’’Wild elephants are still roaming the villages of Jashpur, Raigarh, Sarguja and Korba districts, posing a threat to life and property,’’ she added.

Mrs Bhagat, who is also a member of AICC, said the movement against the elephant menace was apolitical as different political parties and non-government organisations had extended their support.

About 100 odd elephants, which strayed into the state in search of food and water, have unleashed terror in about 132 villages spread over Jashpur, Raigarh, Sarguja and Korba districts and the state government’s efforts to check the menace had not been successful so far. Standing crops in vast stretches and several houses had been destroyed and many villagers trampled by the wild elephants.

Pathalgaon Chhattisgarh

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