BERHAMPUR: The temptation to catch a glimpse of elephants landed a 40-year-old man in hospital bed on Thursday. Raghunath Malik of Kankorada had gone to drop a patient at Adapada hospital in his auto-rickshaw when he heard about the sighting of an elephant herd nearby. A curious Raghunath decided to catch a glimpse of the jumbo herd which was seen not more than 500 metres from the hospital.
When he reached at the spot, a large crowd had already gathered there. Some people were trying to chase the herd away by making sounds and pelting stones at the elephants. All of a sudden, the jumbos got irked and charged towards the crowd.
While people started running to safety, Raghunath tripped and fell down at the spot. One of the elephants lifted him by trunk and thrashed him to the ground.After the herd left, locals rescued a seriously injured Raghunath and admitted him to the hospital. Later, he was shifted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital as his condition deteriorated. Sources said Raghunath has suffered multiple fractures.
On being informed, Digapahandi Ranger Paramananda Panigrahy along with other Forest staff reached the spot. The Forest official assured adequate compensation to Raghunath.Locals said the herd comprising seven elephants sneaked into Hatapada hill from Ghumusur forest division and is staying put in the area for the last several months. The elephants stray into human habitations in search of food and water during the night. The herd has destroyed vegetable and banana crops besides mango orchards in several villages of Sanakhemundi block.
On Wednesday night, the jumbo herd reached Adapada village and remained there. Panigrahy and 10 Forest personnel are currently guarding the elephant herd.The Ranger said the elephants will be chased away from human habitation with fire crackers. He also asked farmers, who have sustained crop loss due to the herd, to apply for compensation. Local Sarpanch Nilamadhaba Rout urged locals to stay away from the herd.