Kolkata: Altogether 63 elephants died in West Bengal either naturally or by accident in a span of two years, while 139 people were killed in elephant attacks during the same period, state Forest Minister Hiten Burman said here Thursday.
Giving details on the elephant reserve in the state, Burman said that there was a stock of 652 elephants comprising 529 in North Bengal and the rest 123 in South Bengal.
Out of the 63 elephant deaths between January 2010-2012, 49 were in North Bengal and 14 in South Bengal.
Of the 49 elephant deaths in North Bengal, 27 were natural and the rest accidental, but in South Bengal of 14 deaths, seven were natural and as many accidental, he said.
Out of 139 villagers killed in elephant attacks, 88 were in North Bengal and the rest 51 in South Bengal, he said, adding that a total of 425 persons were injured in such cases.
Replying to a question, the minister earlier said in the state Assembly that the state government disbursed total compensation of about Rs 1.44 crore for the loss of human lives and injuries in elephant attacks.
While Rs one lakh was given in cases of death of a person, Rs 50,000 to each of those rendered immobile, he said.
Regarding damage by elephants, the minister said that crops of 8,054 hectares were damaged during the same time frame and for this the state government had to disburse compensation of Rs 2.85 crore.
The state government has a plan to develop two rescue centres, one at South Khayerbari in North Bengal and the other at Nayagram under West Midnapore district in South Bengal, covering 100 acres each to shelter rogue elephants, he said.
Arrangement has also been made to enhance the number of `Kunki elephants` in the state, the minister said.