Workshop on development Indo-Nepal Bilateral agreement for formulation of a conservation action plan
The first session started with a presentation by Mr. Sandeep Sundriyal, Conservator of Forests, of cross Hill Circle. He dwelt on the intensity of man-elephant conflict on the West Bengal side of the border emphasizing the issue border movement of elephants and escalating conflict in this zone. He also elaborated on actions taken by the concerned officers to tackle this problem and opined on action points that may alleviate this problem in future years. According to him to mitigate the problem of elephant depredation in crop seasons, some short term measures need be taken resort to from the next season commencing in June,2012. He however felt happy that a favourable climate of interaction and information transfer has developed at the level of DFO, Kurseong and DFO, Jhapa. This requires strengthening and formalization through insertion of appropriate provisions in bilateral agreement. Presence of a good number of tea gardens in the habitat zone and corridors of movement clearly point out that they need to be sensitized to avoid some practices like removal of tree cover and cultivation of crops within the areas leased out to them. The army authorities also need to consult the forest authorities before taking up fresh construction within the forest areas occupied by them in the elephant habitat in the transboundary region of Kurseong Forest Division.