This Bengal village will vote for those who can tame elephants
Over 250 villagers have been killed and several more injured in elephant attacks in Barjora since 2002. The state has had to pay nearly Rs 11 crore as compensation to the villagers in the same period.india Updated: Apr 05, 2014 19:34 IST
A majority of people in Bishnupur constituency will vote for a leader who promises an end to the menace caused by elephants.
The worst affected are four of the seven assembly constituencies comprising Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat – Barjora, Sonamukhi, Onda and Bishnupur.
Over 250 villagers have been killed and several more injured in elephant attacks here since 2002. The state has had to pay nearly Rs 11 crore as compensation to the villagers in the same period.
Shankar Lohar, a resident of Loharpara in Barjora constituency, lost his six-year-old son in an elephant attack on February 16.
Anada Lohar of Mukherjeebandh said nearly 1,000 bighas of once-fertile land were now lying barren in the area because of the elephants.
"Every night we have to stay awake in groups to guard our localities," says Buddha Barui, whose paddy crop, grown over three bighas of land, was destroyed.
"Hula parties (villagers specialised in warding off elephants) are present in every village. We only want one thing from the leader who comes to power – an end to the elephant menace," says Barui.
Parul Barui says recently a herd of elephants almost killed her father-in-law after they broke into the family's hut in search of paddy at night.
"The elephants come every day after sunset to raid our huts and take away the sacks of paddy and vegetables," she says.
Bishnupur's sitting MP Susmita Bauri says, "The issue of elephants is one of the deciding factors in the polls here. Every year, dozens of villagers are killed or injured while crops and property is destroyed by elephant herds, which come from Dalma wildlife sanctuary in Jharkhand. Some of them have stayed back here."