GUWAHATI: The authorities in the southern Assam district of Karimganj in Barak Valley are taking a slew of measures to thwart the ‘infiltration’ of Bangladeshi jumbos which frequently dawn on Indian villages and destroy crops and property besides attacking people.
Around 300 metres of the India-Bangladesh border in Lathitilla area of the district was kept open for the movement of wild elephants but as they are increasingly becoming a threat to people living in border areas, say authorities, adding that they are taking several measures to check their movement.
As part of the measures, the authorities are planning to close down the corridor by planting saplings of lemon and king chillies (locally called bhoot jolokias). These are traditionally used to ward off evil. Elephants can be kept away through the use of strong smell of chillies and lemons. Another advantage of lemon in the case is the thorns of its trees which elephants are afraid of.
“We will soon plant king chilli and lemon saplings along the corridor to keep the jumbos at bay. They often enter the area from across the border and wreak havoc by destroying crops and damaging houses. We hope the steps that we are taking will go a long way,” senior forest official Sukhdeb Saha said.
Karimganj deputy commissioner (district magistrate) Pradip Talukdar told TNIE that they were trying to keep in place a natural barrier to keep the elephants away.
“We will soon plant 10,000 saplings of king chilli and lemon along the corridor. Also, we will play the recorded sound of bees, which elephants are afraid of, to keep them away,” he said.
He said earlier the elephants would come and stay in India for 15-20 days and then go back but now, due to some problem in Bangladesh, they would stay most of the time in India. He said their movement had also spread and not limited to one area as in the past.
“Previously, seven of them used to come. Probably one died and there are now six left, all females. They are like human beings. Their habit is to live in a family. That family system is now disturbed as all are females. The social habit has changed,” Talukdar said.
He said what attract the jumbos most is salt and local brew usually prepared by people in tea estates. “If they come to know about locally-made liquor, they will come and attack the house where it is kept,” he added.