A herd of elephant have moved close to Rourkela since early Saturday morning. The herd was initially checked in its forward movement towards the town by the villagers and now the forest officials are keeping a close watch on its movement.
It was around 1 o’ clock in the night the villagers of Jamsera woke from their sleep to the trumpet of the herd. “We saw there were eight to nine elephants passing through our locality and soon all of us tried to dispersed the herd”, said Vincent Ekka a villager of Jamsera. The herd proceeded towards Jabaghat on the banks of River Koel, which has good foliage and bamboos bushes. However, the villagers at Jabaghat had already got the information about the movement of the pachyderms.
“In fact my cousin who stays Premnagar near Bisra had alerted me that the herd was moving in our direction”, said a villager of Jabaghat. In fact the herd was driven away from Jharkhand and it entered Odisha yesterday evening. “This is the same group which is moving in this locality, starting from Kuanrmunda, Birmitrapur, Nuagaon, Bisra and then it crosses in to Jharkhand and returns”, said a villager. He was corroborated by a forest department official S Nayak, who was present on the spot. “In fact this group had 11 elephants of and two of them died due to electrocution and it has two calves and one male and rest are all female”, said the official.
“Luckily the herd did not move further and stopped as the villagers came in their way and they found the River Koel flowing full”, said Nayak. Had the herd tired to cross the river or taken the road it could have reached the more populous Jhirpani gram panchayat, which is just three kilometres away from Koelnagar area of Rourkela.
“We will start driving them away. The elephants do not move during day time” said Sanjit Kumar, DFO Rourkela. Forest officials will be deployed for the drive, he added.
The last time elephants had come this much closer to Rourkela was in 2014 when the herd had crossed the River Koel, as it was chased away from Kuanrmunda side and entered the Jamsera village.
Then the forest officials had a very difficult time to chase them away as the herd did not move on the designated path which the department officials had charted out for them.