Koraput: A herd of 15 elephants damaged houses and destroyed paddy on 25 acre at Karadabanda village under Muniguda forest range in Rayagada district late on Friday. Villagers said the animals have uprooted seven electricity poles on the outskirts of the village.
“The jumbos are staying put on hilltops during the day and entering villages after sundown. They have completely destroyed several houses and acres of agricultural land,” said Ghanshyam Saraka, a villager. People have alleged inaction by forest officials to alleviate the jumbo menace. “We have informed the forest officials but except for bursting a few crackers, the forest department has not done anything to drive them away,” said another villager.
Forest officials said the elephants have stayed put in the area after sneaking into the district from Karlapat sanctuary in Kalahandi district three years back. “We are tracking the animals and trying to drive them out. Compensation will be paid to people whose home and agricultural land have been damaged,” said forest range officer (Muniguda) Manoranjan Swain.