IDUKKI: Acres of farmland and crops worth several lakh, including ripe areca nuts and coconuts, were destroyed in an attack by a herd of wild elephants at Kundakkadu area in Kanthalloor Grama Panchayat here.
Over 30 jumbos razed hundreds of areca nut trees and coconut trees in the lands of Rajendran, Ilayaraja, Pichemuthu and Subramanian at Kundakkadu the previous night.
With attacks by wild animals becoming more frequent, local inhabitants here are in dread of leaving their homes after sunset.
More than 100 areca nut trees in Rajendran’s farm were destroyed in the rampage, while Subramanian lost his banana plantations, and around 15 coconut trees besides over a hundred 14-year-old areca nut trees were damaged in Ilayaraja’s farmland.
Muthu and his wife, who were trapped in their house after trees on their farmland fell over the construction situated close to the forest area, were rescued by neighbours.
Most of the farming community in the area, who have been living here since 1957, have taken bank loans for farming and for the education of their children.
Authorities, however, have turned a blind eye to the woes of people here, and have not even initiated to set up solar fencing or dig a trench to curb the increasing intrusions of animals from the wild.
Meanwhile, five persons, including a Forest guard, were injured when a tusker ran into a crowd in a residential area at Mamalakkam near Adimali here on Sunday.
The jumbo that had injured its trunk ran amok when veterinary doctors shot three rounds of sedatives at it. Neryamangalam Forest guard Santhosh, 34, local residents Aneesh, 39, Byju, 27, Rajan, 26, and Jaimon, 25, suffered injuries after falling on the ground as the public scrambled to escape.
The injured were admitted to a private hospital at Kothamangalam.
The elephant was shot at by a team of officials, including Devikulam ACF Afsal and doctors at the Periyar Tiger Reserve. However, it managed to escape into the forest. “The injured elephant is very weak and it needs medical aid,” said the officials.