The lack of prompt action by the forest department in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh has led to the death of a male tusker, which came in contact with a live wire used illegally on a farmland at Tapkara, about 350 km from Raipur, on Friday.
A department officer admitted they had inputs about electric fences being illegally used by farmers around their fields.
“One adult elephant died owing to electrocution. A farmer couple used live wires to safeguard the crops from tuskers. Our department staff had information about such illegal acts here in the farmland and sent an alert. We are investigating,” said Abhishek Jogawat, sub-divisional officer of forest in Jashpur.
The owner of the farmland and his wife have been arrested by the forest department and booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Locals blamed the forest staff for their alleged “negligence and laxity’ that led to the death of the elephant.
“The negligent approach of the forest department in Jashpur division is much evident. One can gauge their failure when herds of elephants easily entered the campus of Member of Parliament Gomti Sai twice recently at Munadi and devastated the lawn,” said Ramesh Sharma, a senior journalist in Jashpur.
However, the Divisional Forest Officer of Jashpur Division Krishna Kumar Jadhav said, “Nobody was aware of live wires. We advise the villagers against it.”
As many as eight wild elephants have been killed in Chhattisgarh since mid-June. A central team recently visited the state for a ground inspection. Four forest staff were then suspended and over half a dozen IFS officers shunted out following the deaths of the pachyderms.