Environment

Assam Forest Minister Orders FIR Against Patanjali After Elephant Dies At Construction Site

An elephant and its calf accidentally fell into a pit dug for construction of Patanjali Foods and Herbal Park at Balipara in Sonitpur district on Wednesday. Credit: PTI

An elephant and its calf accidentally fell into a pit dug for construction of Patanjali Herbal and Mega Food Park at Balipara in Sonitpur district on Wednesday. Credit: PTI

Ghoramari (Assam): The female wild elephant that had fallen into a pit along with her own calf and another baby in a construction site in Assam’s Sonitpur district, died today, forest officials said.

The female elephant died 19 hours after falling into the pit at the site of Patanjali Herbal and Mega Food Park at Ghoramari, leaving the animal immobilised there.

Assam forest minister Promila Rani Brahma visited the site in the morning after the death of the elephant.

Brahma instructed Patanjali to leave 80 acres of land from the construction site so that wild elephants could move through that passage.

She also ordered the Forest Department to file an FIR against the contractor of the park site for not taking measures like boundary walls to prevent wild elephants from falling into construction pits.

Stating that the forest department does not have sufficient staff to regularly monitor one particular area, she said that it was impossible for one forest guard to protect wild elephants at the site 24 hours as there are many trenches in the construction site.

The minister said that the Forest Department has decided to arrange a wild life medical team for this area.

The incident occurred Wednesday morning when the calf ran out of the herd towards the construction site followed by his mother and another calf.

While one calf was able to come out of the pit, the other was rescued by people of the locality.

Uday Goswami, coordinator of Patanjali Herbal and Mega Food Park said, “It is a very unfortunate incident. From today we have arranged a generator-cum-inverter system electric boundary until we provide a permanent solar powered system to be completed very soon.”

Of the 450 bigha land, Goswami said 200 bighas were left for the wild elephants to take rest as they have been taking shelter in that particular area.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Apurba Bhattacharya claimed that the park area is an elephant corridor and a place that they use for giving birth to their calves.

In view of this, the previous Congress government in the state had kept the government land from being given to any one, he said.

He also demanded an enquiry as to how the land was provided to Patanjali.

The foundation stone of the Food Park was laid on November 6 by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of Patanjali founder Baba Ramdev.