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Keonjhar: Even as various pockets of Champua range have been bearing the brunt of 19-member herd of Jharkhand elephants, about 93 jumbos are on a damaging spree in Keonjhar range.
The forest department has so far failed to contain the elephant menace in Keionjhar. Elephants are moving in herds, causing damages to houses, paddy saplings, vegetables and rice stocks.
However, the attempts to drive away elephant herds have been scuttled by low-pressure-induced rains. According to reports, a herd of 32 elephants are unleashing terror in Champua range; 16 in Bhuyan range; 20 in Juanga Pidhi, 16 in Telkoi and nine in Ghatagaon.
People are in panic over the persistent elephant menace as their houses and crops are being damaged daily. Farmers said the department has not been providing them with crackers and lights to drive out elephants.
Sources in the forest department said, 183 staff were engaged to keep tabs on the movement of animals and drive them out. DFO Rohit Kumar Lenka said the elephant menace has been acute in Champua. In the last three days, the animals have damaged 11 houses.
He added that efforts are being made to drive out animals across Baitarani and into Similipal forest. People in the tribal-dominated Jhumpura block have also lost their sleep over a herd of marauding elephants from neighbouring Jharkhand. Locals said repeated attempts from forest officials to drive away the animals have proved ineffective.
According to reports, the herd of 19 pachyderms has been on a damaging spree in the area for the last few days. The animals have damaged a number of houses, eaten rice, paddy stock and damaged paddy saplings in the farmland.
Last week, the herd has reportedly damaged over 20 houses apart from damaging paddy and rice stock of people in Satahalia, Mirigisinga, Jamudalak, Kalikaprasad, Hunjupasi, Tunutuna, Katulikana and Gambharia villages.
Houses of Birasingh Munda, Sama Munda, Ghasi Munda, Rajkishore Munda, Suresh Hembram in Bangiriposi of Padua panchayat were damaged. Besides, they have damaged houses of Sakuntala Mohant, Narahari Mohant, Ranjan Munda, Umakant Mohant and Lambodar Mohant in Balipasi area.
Locals demanded an effective step to drive away the animals and compensation for house and crop damage.