For the last 20 days, jumbo attacks have been a major concern in Jharsuguda district. After causing huge damages to properties in Kirmira, Kolabira, Laikera and Jharsuguda blocks, the jumbos have now reached Lakhanpur block and are giving sleepless nights to the villagers.
The elephants have already injured two residents and destroyed properties worth several lakhs. The actual cost of damages is yet to be assessed by the Government agencies.
The victim villagers said that despite informing the officials, they do not get any help and the attitude of the authorities has been apathetic, to say the least. The villagers threatened that if the administration fails to drive away the jumbos out of the area, they would block the NH 49.
On July 10, a 60-year-old man identified as Trinath Dhurua was trampled to death by an elephant. After the incident, most villagers are wary of stepping outdoor in evening hours.
Last year, several villagers had lost their lives under Kudoloi, Bagmunda panchayats of Lakhanpur block.
This year, for the first time, herds of jumbos have been spotted in the locality near Hirakud reservoir and out of fear, the villagers and farmers are not going to the nearby areas of the reservoir.
The villagers are anticipating a heavy loss of life and property if the elephants are not controlled by the Forest Department on a priority basis.
When contacted, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sushant Kumar informed that the Forest department had launched an operation to drive out the 19 elephants from Belpahar forest range to Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary of Bargarh.
He added that three people have been killed in the five forest ranges this year due to elephant attacks.