Community Correspondent helps a victim’s family from tea gardens of Bhatkawa, West Bengal to get compensation, who was attacked by an elephant.
In the tea gardens of Bhatkawa, West Bengal, an elephant attacked Abhiram Khariya when he was coming back from Ganga Dhunda village. By the time he was taken to the Lathabari hospital, Abhiram was no more. Bhatkawa tea garden is located by the Torsa river, in the Dooars region of West Bengal and falls in the human-elephant conflict zone.
The incidents of human-animal conflict are mounting and have become a root of worry for the forest department, environment conservationists, and for the people habituating in these areas. Between 2015 & 2018, more than 1700 people and 370 elephants have died due to this conflict.
In October 2018 Community Correspondent, Harihar Nagbansi made a video highlighting this incident to help the victim's family. Harihar reported the issue to the Range Officer at the Buxa Tiger Reserve. He screened the video in the community for awareness, also showed to the Forest department. “When this case took place, Harihar Nagbansi was there, he shot the video on his camera”, says Kamal Oraon, a Panchayat member.
Harihar helped the Khariya family to write an application explaining the problem. It took 20 days for Harihar and Khariya family to receive Death Certificate and Post Mortem report. “Whoever dies because of the elephant, we give them this payment and there are few documents related to this. Like the ones related to legal heirs and some payment is made before the post mortem report and some after the report”, says Kalyan Rai, Deputy Feild Director, Buxa Tiger Reserve.
Harihar followed up regularly with the Forest officers. In December 2018, the victim’s family received 2.5 Lakh as compensation. “The money was a big help for us. I would like to thank forest officials for helping us with the money”, says Bikash Khariya, son of the deceased.
While Khariya family managed to get compensation in times of need, there is a consensus that these conflicts are increasing. It will take a joint conflict management effort to abate the situation.
Video by Community Correspondent Harihar Nagbansi
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a member of the VV Editorial Team
Many applications later, hundreds of people continue to suffer.