Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org), one of the India’s leading biodiversity conservation organisations, with the overwhelming support of the Kashibari Koachpara Village Community, has installed a 2-km solar-powered fence around Kashibari-Kochpara in Goalpara district of Assam to facilitate coexistence between humans and elephants. Approximately 200 people in the community, as well as families in four surrounding villages, will benefit directly from this fence by enhancing food security and reducing human-elephant conflicts. The installation of solar-powered fences was conducted with extensive support from local communities, Forest Department, and funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Yesterday, the Kashibari Kochpara solar powered fence was formally inaugurated by the DFOGoalpara, Mr. Jitendra Kumar, in presence of forest officials. It was on this occasion that the DFO cut a ribbon and inaugurated the solar fence which has later been handed over to the Kashibari solar fencing committee for maintenance after signing an MoU with the Forest Department, Aaranyak, and the solar fencing committee. Locals were urged for proper maintenance of the fence by DFO and range officers speaking to the gathering.
Aaranyak’s senior scientist, Dr. Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar, who heads the Elephant Research & Conservation Division (ERCD) at Aaranyak, and Dr. Alolika Sinha interacted with the villagers on importance of the solar fence to coexist with elephants. Moreover, Aaranyak’s Anjan Baruah, a expert on solar-powered fence stressed the importance fence maintenance and the role of the villagers. A noted social worker from Lakhipur area, Sashi Bhusan Brahma, moderated the programme. Dr Namita Brahma of Tata Institute of Social Science, Guwahati, and Ashok Dey an executive member of Aaranyak were also present on the occasion.
The villagers expressed their gratitude and thanked Aaranyak and the forest department for installing the solar fence so that their crops, lives and property would be protected. The fences also ushered a sense of social security.
Following the programme, Aaranyak’s officials, along with community people and senior forest officials, organised a plantation event as a part of Lakhipur Forest Range’s Van Mahotsav celebration, in which saplings were planted in Kumarkhali Reserve Forest.