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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Baripada, Sep 26:

Elephant herds have gone on a rampage in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj and Sonepur distrcts causing extensive damage to property and agricultural fields.

Raiders of the jumbo kind
Raiders of the jumbo kind

The marauding pachyderms numbering around 70— that have sneaked into Baripada forest range in Mayurbhanj district— have damaged the standing paddy and maize crops in Badasul and Bhatachhatar villages of Moroda reserve forest under Rasgobindpur range in the district.

“The villagers are scaring them away to which they are trying to enter. They are damaging the crops. The electricity supply has been disconnected in the area due to the rampaging elephants. The dark nights and the fear of elephants are giving us sleepless nights,” a villager said.

“It appears that they would return back to West Bengal. But, we cannot say anything on that now. We would like to minimize the damage to paddy crops. Horses would be deployed to drive them away,” said Sanjay Kumar Swain DFO, Baripada.

In view of this, a 24-hour control room has been opened in Baripada divisional forest office.

Similar is the sight at Kutmenda village Ulunda block in Sonepur district where the jumbos have created havoc. Not only in Kutmenda village, the jumbos are also moving in three other pancyayats causing huge crop loss to acres of land.

“The elephants have strayed into the village and have damaged crops on around 15 acres of land. The forest officials haven’t been successful to drive them away,” a villager alleged.

The elephants have come from Rairakhol forest division. We would ask the affected villagers to apply for compensation for crop loss due to jumbo menace. We would verify it and provide them compensation, a forest official said.