Odisha: Farmers in keep watch on jumbos atop ‘machans’
Owing to shortage of food in the forest, the elephants venture into farmland near Ghantikhala, Narangabasta, Gopinathpada, Kaptabarai, Gopalprasad, Boudhapur, Mahalapada and other villages.
CUTTACK: With a herd of 22 elephants creating a ruckus in the Khuntuni forest range under the Athagarh division for the last few days, farmers are spending sleepless nights on temporary structures (machans) atop trees. Come evening, the farmers, leaving their families at home, move towards their farmland to protect their standing crops by keeping a watch on the herd of the machans made of straw, polythene and bamboos.
The herd comprising eight females, five tuskers and nine calves strayed into the Subasi reserve forest in the Khuntuni range from Chandaka wildlife division. Owing to shortage of food in the forest, the elephants venture into farmland near Ghantikhala, Narangabasta, Gopinathpada, Kaptabarai, Gopalprasad, Boudhapur, Mahalapada and other villages. The elephants are damaging more crops than they eat. The farmers of the region who cultivate ‘Dalua’ paddy and a variety of vegetables during this time of the year alleged the forest officials are unable to track the movement of the herd.
“We were relieved as elephants from Chandaka had not intruded into our region for the last four months. Now, the elephants have damaged the paddy crops which would have been harvested in the next few days,” said some farmers of Bishnupur village, around one km from Subasi reserve forest. Efforts to elicit a response on the issue from Athagarh DFO JD Pati proved futile.