An elephant destroyed a kitchen of a family in lower Pekharzhing on May 24.
The tusker also damaged the cornfields of two other villagers and destroyed hundreds of corn plants.
Anil Pradhan’s kitchen wall was completely damaged. He said that elephants also attacked his house in 2014.
“The animals damaged the same kitchen before,” he said. “It has become risky.”
This time, though, there was just one elephant. Anil Pradhan said that this particular elephant was very difficult to chase.
As the lower Pekharzhing shares a close border with Indian village of Khokla along the embankment of Govarjitti stream, elephants are common in Pekharzhing. Elephants cross the river and enter the lower regions of Pekharzhing easily.
Phuentsholing thromde officials visited the affected areas the next day. For the villagers, getting compensated for the loss is difficult. Most have not insured their homes.
Shivalal Sharma, 63, lost more than 500 corn plants.
“The corn were growing healthy,” said Shivalal Sharma.
It was found that the elephants do not eat the maize but walk over the fields damaging the plants.
Elephants also damaged Chabilal Ghalley’s cornfields. Chabilal’s house is located closest to the border.
Chabilal Ghalley has attached a light on an areca nut tree to shoo away the elephants.
“It has worked in some way,” he said.
There is also the border wall between the two border villages of Pekharzhing and Khokla. However, a portion of the wall near the Govarjitti stream is damaged. Villagers say the lephants get in from there.
Villagers say that the people across the border use various means to scare and chase the tuskers, which is not allowed in Bhutan.
Lower Pekharzhing is an extended thromde area. It is also among the few villages where farming is still a way of life.
Although it is a thromde area, Phuentsholing’s thrompon, Uttar Kumar Rai, said elephants come because people practise farming.
“Electric fencing is not possible,” he said, explaining that lower Pekharzhing is a cross-border area where movement of people is higher.
Uttar Kumar Rai said that thromde would expedite infrastructural developments. People should also consider going commercial in future, he added.
The thromde office has informed the forest office about the issue.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing