Elephant corridors in Meghalaya awaiting MHA clearance

The proposed 'elephant corridors' aimed at reducing man-animal conflict along Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya are awaiting clearance and sanction from Union Ministry of Home Affairs, a BSF official said today.

"The proposal has gone to the Ministry of Home Affairs and I hope that clearance will come shortly," Meghalaya Frontier BSF Inspector General Sudesh Kumar told reporters here.

The elephant corridors are specially designed gaps along the fenced border to allow the pachyderms to cross between Bangladesh and India for food and shelter, but have security towers at both ends to check illegal entry of people.

He said the BSF proposed five such corridors, all in the Garo Hills region, in collaboration with the state's forest department which kept track of elephant movements to and from Bangladesh from the Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills district.

"The corridors are meant to reduce man-animal conflict by facilitating free movement and avoiding direct contact with the elephants while at the same time protecting the border from intruders," he said.

Until recently, militants from Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya followed routes used by herds of wild elephants to cross the international border to avoid the security forces.

This was detected by the BSF along most difficult terrain on the 190-km stretch border in the Garo Hills, he said.

Fencing was completed in about 50 km, but land was yet to be acquired for another 88 km with the state government cooperating for early completion of the project, he said.

The other issues that made guarding the borders difficult were bad roads and mobile connectivity, the BSF officer said.