No let-up in elephant menace; farmers worried

Champua: There is no let-up in elephant menace in Champua forest range of Keonjhar district with the farming community at the receiving end.

The pachyderms have damaged paddy in 20 acres within a week while the forest department has been accused of failure to drive away the animals. This has led to discontent among the local people.

In the day time, the elephants remain in forests and enter human habitations at night to damage paddy, farmers said.

A herd of 35 elephants in Champua section, 18 elephants in Balibandh section and 14 elephants in Bamebari section have been on a damaging spree.

The animals damaged crops of farmers Baneswar Nayak, Ramchandra Nayak, Dillip Nayak, Madhu Behera, Prashant Barik, Chintamani Mohant, Ramakant Barik and Tarun Patra at Bimala Monday night.

The farmers alleged that the forest officials have confined their responsibilities to just supplying firecrackers while crops are getting damaged on a daily basis.

A week ago, two herds of elephants extensively damaged crops in areas under Balibandh and Bamebri sections. The frequent visits of the pachyderms to farmlands have robbed the farmers of their sleep. Crops in large tracts of farmland were destroyed by the pachyderms in Jaypur, Naupani, Hatidari, Chimpinda, Bamandiha, Kaliapal, Basantpur, Rugudisahi, Naibuga and Dhanurjaypur.