A collaborative effort between the Forest Department and 'The Aaranyak,' a Guwahati-based wildlife NGO, has resulted in the installation of a seven-kilometer-long solar-powered electric fence in Assam’s Udalguri district.
This initiative is a strategic response to mitigate the human-elephant conflict (HEC) prevalent in the region.
The community-managed single-strand solar-powered fence, funded by the SBI Foundation under a project dedicated to mitigating HEC, aims to safeguard the property and livelihood of approximately 170 families residing in Kundarbil village. Additionally, it provides protection to around 500 bighas of cropland, reinforcing the critical link between environmental conservation and local well-being.
The formal inauguration ceremony, attended by around 100 people at Rupa LP School, number 3 Kundarbil ground, marked the handover of the solar-powered electric fence to the community. Patrosh Daimary, the Village Council Development Committee (VCDC) chairman of Kundarbil, expressed gratitude to Aaranyak and the Forest Department for their unwavering support in mitigating HEC and ensuring the safety of the community.
Locals have reported frequent visits by herd elephants from the nearby forest, often in search of food. Recognizing the efficacy of solar-powered electric fences as a proven tool for HEC mitigation, the installation was led by Aaranyak's solar fence expert, Anjan Baruah.
The team, consisting of Abhijit Saikia, Mandeep Basumatary, Dibakar Nayak, and Bikash Tossa from Aaranyak, collaborated with villagers to implement the project successfully.
During the inauguration, Anjan Baruah engaged with the villagers, providing detailed insights into maintaining the fence for longevity and promoting harmonious human-elephant coexistence. Prior to the handover, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the solar fence committee, the Forest Department, and Aaranyak, outlining the shared responsibilities and commitments.
The meeting for the inauguration ceremony witnessed the presence of a Forest Department team, led by Bir Bahadur Mogor from Shantipur Beat, accompanied by VDP Secretaries Tanka Bahadur Sonar and Dhan Kumar Ray, as well as social worker Sanjay Daimary. Rabiya Daimari, Reshma Narzary, Rupam Gayary, and Pradeep Barman of Aaranyak were also in attendance.
The meeting was presided over by Raju Ray and moderated by Krishna Darjee of the solar fence committee, emphasizing the collaborative efforts in addressing the complex issue of human-elephant conflict in the region.