KENDRAPARA, 25 July :
In the latest instance of man-crocodile conflict in river-locked Kendrapara district, a 14-year-old girl was today feared killed by a crocodile.
The victim identified as Saraswati Parida (14), a student of a government-run primary school of Sahupada village, was taking bath near the ferry ghat of Brahmani river when a crocodile pounced upon her and dragged her into the water, locals said.
Mechanised vessels have been pressed into service and search is on to retrieve the body, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rajnagar Mangrove, Forest Division (wildlife), Manoj Kumar Mahapatra said.
“The villagers have informed us that the crocodile has taken away the girl from the ghat. The body is yet to be recovered. After the body is spotted, we will initiate the measures for payment of ex-gratia applicable for victims due to crocodile attack”, Mahapatra said.
Seven persons, including the latest victim and cattle have fallen prey to the crocodiles since the past one year.
In retaliation, three reptiles were killed by villagers after they got entangled in fishing nets.
Panic has gripped the river-side villages on close periphery of the Bhitarkanika sanctuary as marauding reptiles are making their way into water-bodies in and around the human settlements.
Forest personnel, however, are of the view that people are exposing themselves to crocodile attacks by venturing into croc-infested water bodies. ( P T I )