Nagaon: In yet another episode of man-animal conflict,Mikir Bamuni Grant in Barhampur constituency of Nagaon witnessed two elephants straying from the herd and causing extensive damage to two houses, a dhaba, and the fencing of the Azure solar power plant, before leaving the village.
The villagers have been spending sleepless nights since the past week, owing to recurring visits by the elephants. Local activists once again raised the claim that the plant is in an elephant corridor and slammed the forest department for providing a false NOC to the company. On the other hand, an official statement from Azure Power said, “We are aware of the occasional sightings of elephants in and around Mikir Bamuni village and understand that their safety is important to us. Due to heavy rainfall in the area for the past 24 hours, there could be a possible elephant movement. Two elephants were spotted around midnight on 24th August, near the project site. They entered the site from one side and left through a different route. We would like to assert that all due diligence was followed for the procurement of the site.
Azure Power possesses a clear No Objection Certificate from the Forest Department, which mentions that the land is not under any Notified Elephant Corridor. Conforming to international best practices, the project site is also assessed by a third party – Arcadis India, an international environmental consultant – which undertook an Environment and Social Impact Assessment of the project site in 2019, where it was established that the nearest elephant corridor is 90 kms from the project site.”
CPI leader Ratul Bora, who has been actively associated with the farmers protests, strongly criticized local MLA Jitu Goswami for his comment about the land being unproductive and continuing to defend the private company. They have also demanded the state government to return the land to the farmers of Mikir Bamuni Grant.