AGARTALA, June 23 – To ensure preservation of jumbo population in Tripura, the State government has sent a proposal to the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment seeking its support to establish two elephant conservation reserves – at Atharamura in Dhalai district and Gandhari in Gomati district.
While the Gandhari elephant conservation reserve would be set up in a plot spreading over 123 square km, the Atharamura reserve would be of around 60 km, according to the plan prepared by the Forest Department.
“We have sent a proposal seeking the support of the Ministry of Forest and Environment to raise elephant conservation reserves at Athamura Hill range and Gandhari – both considered natural jumbo habitation,” said Forest Minister Naresh Jamatia.
Speaking to mediapersons, Jamatia said, “This will provide direct economic benefit to the people living on forest wealth through alternative livelihood income generation programmes,” he added.
Elaborating on the projects, Dr AK Gupta, Chief Wildlife Warden, assured there would be no exodus of indigenous people living in any of the proposed elephant conservation reserve areas. “People can stay in the two elephant conservation reserves and do what have been doing all along, even after establishment of the two reserves,” he added. “We understand the State has sufficient land for people and animals to coexist peacefully.”
Under the plan, the department would go for a massive plantation drive and create of sufficient water bodies for the elephant reserves. “I had a meeting with top officials of the ministry and they have hinted at releasing money for the ambitious projects,” he said adding that if the projects are implement, jumbos would be able to use traditional migration route without harming human habitations. In the first phase, Rs 10 crore would be required to undertake the two elephant conservation reserves.