The solar-powered fencing has not been effective as expected

Conflict: Villagers of Nichula gewog in Lhamoizingkha are still battling against frequent elephant attacks despite the recent installation of a solar powered electric fencing.

Calling it a lost battle, the four villages in Daragaon chiwog try hard to save their paddy and millet from two elephants that rampage the villages every year.

“I had a narrow escape trying to chase one of the elephants,” businessman Biswajit Rai said, who visited his village in Daragaon to celebrate dassain.

Farmer Khadka Bdr Chhetri said they managed to chase one elephant but the other elephant returns every evening. “It has affected many households,” he said.

Another resident of Daragaon, Budhiman Rai said that villagers spent sleepless nights these days as it was difficult to chase the lone tusker.

Villagers also said that the solar powered fencing didn’t help much. They said the long distance of wiring could have weakened the strength of the fencing.

The electric fencing connects Hurdung, Gadi, Gairigaon, and Apgaji with connecting points at Apgaji and Gai.

Kuensel learnt that the other three points that have separate and shorter fencing had better impact. Elephants have not been able to get to the fields.

Another reason that affected the strength of the electric fencing, villagers said could be the number of wires used at the moment. Only two wires were used.

The fencing will have five wires that are to be connected soon.

Daragaon villagers are also collecting money to invest on one more wire to strengthen the fencing.

In Hurdung, villagers guard their paddy and millet fields every night. Some spend their nights on treetops to guard their fields.

Daragaon tshogpa Purna Khatti said that the gewog officials had informed Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary officials about the problem.

“The officials will visit us on November 13,” the tshogpa said. “We will be installing additional equipment for more electric fencing.”

Rajesh Rai, Lhamoizingkha