SRIKAKULAM: The people of various tribal hamlets and plain areas have been migrating to the nearest safer places unable to protect themselves from the Odisha wild elephants. The forest department officials have also appealed to the people of Garlapadu panchayat and adjacent hamlets not to stay at home at nights as the marauding elephants may attack them any time.
The elephants, which have been creating panic in and around tribal hamlets of Antili, Kiridivalasa, Bondiguda, Marriguda, Puttigam and Kurmavalasa during the past 10 days, are now straying into the plain areas.
The elephants strayed into the Garlapadu village Tuesday night and destroyed houses and feasted on the paddy and rice stored by the tribals. The jumbos also laid waste to cashew and banana plantations and destroyed a large number of paddy bags. The jumbos were spotted around the Bondiguda tribal hamlet, 6-km from Garlapadu panchayat, Wednesday evening.
Even as people, including women and children, have been spending sleepless nights, the government is yet to respond to the situation. The people who vacated their houses have been facing several problems, including scarcity of food and drinking water. The people alleged that the government was simply asking them to vacate the villages without providing any assistance. They demanded provision of ration and drinking water till the problem was sorted out.
Meanwhile, at a review meeting of the ITDA, Sitampeta, minister for Labour and Employment K Atchan Naidu assured the people that an action plan was on the anvil to free the villages from the elephant menace.