BHUBANESWAR: Three persons were trampled to death while five others were injured in an elephant attack in Khurda and Puri forest divisions on Sunday.
Forest officials said the elephant that went on a rampage in villages bordering Puri and Khurda forest division attacked Jugalkishore Bhatt (60) of Gopinathpur tehsil in Puri division while he had gone to his field this morning.
Later, it moved to Balipatna forest range in Khurda division and killed Chaitanya Sahu (45) of Rajtei village and Makara Palei (65) of Matighar village.
The wild elephant also injured three persons in Puri division and two persons in Khurda division. The victims will get ex gratia as per the existing norms.
Khurda divisional forest officer (DFO) Sudeep Nayak said the tusker is still moving around in the forest patch of Rajtei under Balipatna forest range and efforts are on to drive it away towards Barunei forest. A herd of elephants came closer to the villages in Balipatana forest range late in the night.
Though forest teams went to the spot to drive it away, the pachyderms were distressed after some people from the nearby coastal villages chased the herd with fire torches. "We have requested villagers to cooperate with the forest staff to prevent such conflicts," the Khurda DFO said, adding, with these deaths the human-elephant conflict has worsened in the Khurda division this year.
Previously, two elderly persons had been trampled to death while another had sustained injuries in elephant attacks on January 18.
Villagers have demanded adequate safety measures to keep pachyderms away from human habitation in the region.