BARIPADA: Two tuskers are wreaking havoc in Rasamtala panchayat under the Karanjia forest range, triggering panic among the local residents. In the last four days, the elephants have damaged an Anganwadi centre, the entrance gate of a school and six houses in the panchayat. The tuskers were part of two herds and recently got separated.
Sources said the elephants are entering human settlements in search of food and causing large-scale damage in the area. At least three houses have been reportedly damaged in Kuduma village and one each in Patpadsha, Kadadiha and Kadamadak. Besides, the tuskers have partly damaged the Anganwadi centre at Patpadsha village and destroyed the main entrance of Kadamadak upper primary school.
Villagers alleged that the jumbos have devoured rice stored in many houses. “We are spending sleepless nights due to the rampaging tuskers. At least six houses and an Anganwadi centre have been damaged by the elephants. Due to inaction of forest personnel, we have suffered huge losses,” alleged victims Subash Sethy and Laxmidhar Mohanta.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Karanjia Srikant Naik said the two tuskers, one from Keonjhar district and the other from Jharkhand, entered the forest division after being separated from their herds.
The villagers affected by the tuskers have been asked to upload images of their damaged properties in Anukampa app. Compensation will be provided to them after proper verification.
Adequate forest personnel have been deployed in the area to keep round-the-clock watch on the movement of the tuskers, the DFO added. At least five persons were killed by elephants in Karanjia territorial forest division last year.