After tiger safari, the state government has taken initiatives to set up leopard and bear safari in Siliguri.
The two separate Safari Parks would be constructed on 20 hectare of land each. It may be mentioned that tiger Safari Park has already been inaugurated by the Chief Minister in Siliguri.
The Forest department has been closely working with the Tourism department to develop the leopard park and a bear park in Siliguri. Binay Krishna Burman said that the leopard park would soon be constructed on a 20 hectare land near the existing Tiger Safari Park.
The Forest minister in the Assembly on Thursday said that the present government has hiked the compensation amount to the families of elephant attack victims to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.
Burman said that during the Left Front regime, the elephant victims were given Rs 1 lakh but the present government has increased the amount of compensation.
In case of an elephant destroys the crops of farmers, they would be given Rs 1 lakh. The elephants often enter into the locality in various states and carry out destructions and the loss of human lives.
To stop the conflict between man and animals, the Forest department is also setting up two enclosures for elephants. One would be set up at Mayurjharna, the bordering areas of Bankura and Purulia and the other in Alipurduar, each covering an area of 8 hectares.
Though the enclosures will be set up in an artificial way, they will be rich in natural abounds while the elephants will graze freely. All the arrangements including food will be available for the elephants at the enclosures as they find in the forest, Burman said.
There are around 18 wild elephants in the state. Besides this, many others elephants enter into the state from outside and roam freely in different parts of Bengal. They often damage crops and kill the villagers.
Last year, crops worth nearly Rs 7 crore were damaged in elephants attack.
The Forest department also introduced four modern vehicles, equipped with modern gadgets to protect villagers from attacks by wild elephants. The vehicles are named as Airavata. Four such vehicles are being used to drive away the elephants if they enter into the locality. The vehicles are fitted with generator and a high power LED light in the front and the back, which can revolve around it's axis by 360 degree.
Burman said that four more such vehicles will soon be introduced, out of which three would be stationed at various forest ranges in North Bengal, while the remaining one would be deployed in South Bengal.
The vehicles will not only help the forest officials to spot the wild elephants, but also help to drive them into forest, the minister said.