While the marauding elephants stayed put in standing paddy and vegetable crop fields in north Ghumusur forest division, the efforts of forest sleuths to chase the herd away was met with protests from the affected farmers on Tuesday.
The herd of 29 elephants had destroyed paddy and vegetables over 80 acres in Mujagada forest range area in the last couple of days. The forest sleuths are spending more than ` 3,000 a day on fireworks to shoo the herd away with six teams on duty at various places in the range.
The herd reportedly entered the fields in Daha and Mahaguda area on Tuesday and when the sleuths proceeded to the spot, they were stopped in their tracks by the affected farmers. The farmers instead demanded immediate compensation for the crop loss and denied them entry till the payment was made.
On the other hand, DFO K C Mishra said the loss of crop is being assessed and ` 2 lakh had already been paid to the victims.
He appealed to the villagers to help them in chasing away the herd.
According to Mishra, following electrocution of two elephants and a boar last month, the Forest Department was contemplating to lay solar fencing in the forest to confine the wild animals and refrain others from entering the area.
Meanwhile, the forest officials have spotted eight elephants near Pochalundi, 13 near Mujagada and three each in Gereda and Kandhabanta. These include five tuskers and eight calves, said the forest office sources and added that search is on to spot the remaining two elephants of the herd.