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TIPRA Motha holds protest, demand action against elephant menace

First Published: 29th January, 2024 19:18 IST

Debbarma alleged that incidents were reported to forest officials, but adequate steps were not taken.

Tribal members aligned with the opposition TIPRA Motha party blocked the road nearly for 5 hours on National Highway 08 at Mungiakami in Khowai district of Tripura on Monday, demanding proper action against wild elephant attacks.

In a demonstration, the protestors demanded government intervention to protect local villagers from frequent wild elephant attacks and sought the demarcation of land plots allocated under the Forest Rights Act.

Addressing reporters, TIPRA Motha senior leader Manihar Debbarma highlighted the escalating instances of wild elephant attacks in Kalyanpur-Pramodenagar and Krishnapur assembly constituency areas, affecting both tribal and non-tribal settlements.

She added that the blockade aimed to draw attention to the human-animal conflict issue and the absence of demarcation for land allotments under the Forest Rights Act, causing difficulties for tribals practicing shifting cultivation or ‘jhum’ for sustenance.

Meantime, Mungiakami block president of TIPRA Motha, Mahendra Debbarma, expressed concern over the frequent attacks, citing at least 26-27 incidents in the past year, including some resulting in fatalities.
He emphasized the need for government actions to safeguard the local community from future wild animal attacks.

Debbarma alleged that incidents were reported to forest officials, but adequate steps were not taken.

He further pointed out that many tribals in the area, traditional forest dwellers, are yet to have their designated land plots demarcated by forest officials.

Following the highway blockade, Sub Divisional Magistrate and local officials, along with a conversation with the District Magistrate, led to the withdrawal of the protest.

Recently, on January 20, a herd of wild tuskers damaged a house in Chakmaghat under Tripura’s Khowai district. This is the second such attack in the district within a week and came just 24 hours after Tripura Forest Minister Bikash Debbarma assured of taking steps to curb human-animal conflict.

Tripura, with 102 elephants, including 42 wild elephants and 60 in captivity, faces challenges in balancing conservation efforts and mitigating conflicts.

The government has initiated projects like beekeeping, bamboo and banana plantations, and check dams in forests to minimize such incidents.

Also Read: Tripura: Sports officials, physical instructors take part in skill-enhancement programme

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