Cuttack: People of Brajabiharipur, on the outskirts of Cuttack, are spending sleepless nights for the last three days as a herd of over 10 elephants have unleashed mayhem in the area. Villagers have alleged that the elephants have split into small groups and trampling standing crops and vegetables in their fields. Angry villagers have also alleged that despite repeated appeals, the forest officials are doing little to drive away the animals.”For better profits, many villagers had grown cauliflowers, spinach and other vegetables close to the forest side, but the elephants have damaged hectares of crops.We will suffer huge losses now,” said a farmer, Kailash Das. “If the elephants are not stopped timely then they will enter the habitations and start damaging our houses and may attack humans also. Out of fear, villagers are remaining awake the whole night,” said another villager Kabi Sahoo.
As Brajabiharipur is just few metres away from CDA, people of the area are living in fear. Forest officials have claimed that the elephant herd has been driven away. “The elephant herd had sneaked into Brajabiharipur from nearby Athagarh forest division, but by Saturday noon, the herd had marched towards Khuntuni forest range. Our officials are on alert and keeping a vigil,” said divisional forest officer (Cuttack city) P K Mishra.
“We had to be very cautious in driving away the animals. As with any wrong move, the pachyderms would have entered Cuttack city,” added Mishra. The forest official claimed that after proper assessment of the crop damage compensation will be provided to the affected people.
Villagers have claimed that three to four elephants are still present in the region. “Few elephants are roaming in the village close to the forest. The entire village is panic stricken,” said Sahoo.