BALASORE: A tusker from Dalma sanctuary of Jharkhand has been wreaking havoc in over 20 villages in Nilagiri of Balasore district for over a fortnight.
In the last three days, the tusker has damaged at least 15 houses besides crops and plantations in Rabanbhuin, Bhaunribad, Gudisul, Hatimunda and Banabhuin villages.
People of two hamlets have left their homes fearing attack by the pachyderm.
The family members of Ajay Singh and Sunil Singh of Mudihasahi had a miraculous escape on Friday as they all rushed out of their houses after hearing the screams of neighbours. “The elephant has completely destroyed our houses and ate all the paddy we had stocked,” said Sunil.
The tusker also destroyed an ANM centre in Banabhuin besides damaging seven houses on Thursday and two on Friday.
Forest officials said the tusker managed to enter the hillside villages as the poles erected for solar fencing to thwart elephants’ intrusion near Banabhuin have been stolen.
Local forest officials and Nilagiri MLA Sukanta Nayak visited the affected families. Nayak has directed the Revenue Inspector to provide blankets, clothes, utensils and food to all the victims. Forest officials too have been asked to complete the assessment and provide assistance to the affected.
A team of forest personnel, led by ranger Rabinarayan Mohanty, has been monitoring the tusker’s movement while the villagers have been burning logs in the night to keep the jumbo away.
Forest officials said, a wild elephant also known as pilot tusker first comes to Nilagiri via West Bengal and later a herd of over 70 elephants follows as it sends signals. This is a regular phenomenon, the officials said and added that the herd stays for over a month and moves around Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. They spread panic and damage property worth lakhs of rupees before returning.