Bhubaneswar: A herd of elephants wreaked havoc on several villages under Biswanathpur range in Kalahandi district in the past two days forcing the forest department to shift 15 persons of five families to a temporary shelter.
Forest department sources said the elephant herd is believed to have strayed into Kalahandi from neighbouring Rayagada district. The herd has destroyed five houses in Ladiguda hamlet. No one has been injured in the attack. “The herd is still moving close to human habitations and our employees, including the elephant trackers, are on alert,” said divisional forest officer (Kalahandi south division) Viswanath Neelannavar.
Official sources said the panicked villagers were shifted to a nearby school. Till the houses are repaired, the villagers will stay in the school. “We will also recommend the government to provide houses to them under Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana,” said the senior forest officer.
This incident comes a week after a herd of 74 elephants that strayed into Nilgiri of Balasore district from Jharkhand caused damage to the houses triggering panic among the villagers. The forest department had to launch operation gajanan to drive the elephants out. The operation lasted for 36 hours. Because of the harvesting season, elephants are coming out of their territories and entering other areas for food. Since they eat paddy, they mostly enter the villages, which have standing crop and the crop already cut and stored in the field. They smell paddy from a distance, said another forest officer.
A week ago, a wild elephant from Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary wreaked havoc on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The pachyderm killed eight buffaloes before vanishing into a nearby forest. Another herd of elephants has been on a killing spree in Athgarh and Dhenkanal forest areas. In the first week of November, two persons were killed in these forest divisions.