In Chhattisgarh, political parties discount man-elephant conflict that kills hundreds of tribals

At least 245 people died in elephant attacks in Chhattisgarh between 2019 and 2023.

Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur district, bordering Jharkhand and Odisha, is known as the gateway of elephants, a habitat of the wild giants where they have coexisted with the tribals for centuries. But over the past few decades of increasing human-elephant conflict and thinning forests, many have fallen prey to wild elephants.    

At least 245 people died in elephant attacks in the state between 2019 and 2023, making up 15 percent of such casualties in India, as per government data. Over 84 people were injured, and more than 60,000 incidents of crop damage were reported during the period. Several elephants were also killed by humans, but no official data is available.    

This is despite the state being home to only one percent – or about 300 elephants – of the more than 30,000 wild elephants in the country.   

In a report published last year, the central government said the number of elephant corridors in the past 13 years has increased from 88 in 2010 to 150 in 2023. But many corridors have also been destroyed for building roads, mining, and so-called development projects. In fact, tribals in the state’s Hasdeo Arand forests have been protesting against the Rajasthan government and Adani Group’s coal mining project in Korba district. 

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