GUWAHATI, Nov 13: A day after Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika did what the Forest department failed to do — tranquilise the rough elephant that had killed five persons at Matia in Goalpara district on a single day — Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya now wants to take all the credit.
Shuklabaidya claimed it was the Forest department that had requested Padma Hazarika to try and tame the rough elephant named ‘Laden’ by villagers since it had killed many people and created a reign of terror among villagers. The Forest Minister said the department and not the people had taken the initiative and approached the Sootea MLA to help them.
“We are thankful to Padma Hazarika for tranquilising the elephant that had killed five persons. But it’s the Forest Department which had invited him to assist operations to tranquilise the elephant. It’s not that people of Goalpara invited him,” the Forest Minister said, clearly hinting that the credit should go to him and the department.
People of Goalpara, however, were not amused with the Forest Minister’s claims. On the other hand, villagers appeared unhappy and even angry with him and his department over the developments. Many even went to the extent of demanding a rejig in the cabinet and wanted Padma Hazarika to take over as the new Forest Minister of Assam.
“We want Padma Hazarika to be made the new Forest Minister of Assam. Neither the present Forest Minister (Parimal Suklabaidya) nor his departmental officials can take credit. It’s Padma Hazarika who has tranquilised ‘Laden’,” a villager said.
Forest Minister Suklabaidya also said that the elephant that was named Laden by villagers had actually died last year. The rough elephant tranquilised by Padma Hazarika “was on must” and, therefore, had attacked and killed five persons.
Padma Hazarika, incidentally, had succeeded in tranquilising the elephant just hours after beginning his mission. He had also said that the elephant would now be named Krishna and will be used to help tame other wild elephants.