A tusker, which had strayed into Bamur and Handappa some time ago, has so far killed five people and destroyed more than 80 houses creating panic among the people of the area.
The elephant also destroyed crop in over 100 acres in the two places under Kishorenagar block of the district. Forest department officials have made all attempts to drive out the tusker but failed so far.
According to sources, the tusker was separated from its herd in December last year and took his first casualty at village Rangamatia. It crushed Sudarshan Naik to death.
Continuing its killing spree, the elephant killed Kasturi Pradhan of Phasipal, Kuntala Rana of Nakchi, a villager at Icchapur and the latest victim was Upasi Naik of Analaberini.
The villagers said the tusker normally remains in jungle during the day but comes out in the evening and creates havoc either by killing people or destroying houses and corn fields.
“There is a state of panic in our areas for the lone tusker which unleashes a reign of terror after the sunset. Besides killing two people, it has destroyed crops heavily in these months. All attempts by the people to herd away the elephant have so far not yielded any result,” said a villager of Asrubahal Tapan Kumar Sahu.
Repeated pleas to forest department officials have gone unheard and people have demanded intervention of higher authorities in this regard. Divisional Forest Officer of Athmallick SK Dalei said, “Forest officials are after the tusker ever since it came to the area. Due to their efforts, it goes away to nearby Rairakhole or Chhendipada but again comes back. Still we are trying to chase him away from the area and the officials are constantly watching his movements and trying to drive him.”