KENDRAPARA: A 10-year-old boy was killed after being attacked by a crocodile in Brahmani river at Nimapur village near Bhitarkanika National Park here on Wednesday. This was the seventh fatal crocodile attack near Bhitarkanika in the last 13 months.
The deceased was identified as Ashutosh Acharya. The incident took place at around 8.30 am.
Sources said Ashutosh along with his mother and sister had gone to the river to take bath. All of a sudden, a crocodile exploded out of the knee-deep water and mauled the unsuspecting boy with its jaws. Horrified, Ashutosh’s mother and sister screamed for help but the reptile dragged the boy underwater.
When the news spread, villagers reached the river bank and launched a search operation. After a few hours, the half-eaten body Ashutosh was retrieved from the water. Later in the day, irate villagers blocked the main road at Nimapur by placing the boy’s body. They demanded adequate compensation to the family members of the crocodile victim.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika Sudarshan Gopinath Yadav said the department will provide Rs 6 lakh compensation to the bereaved family after proper inquiry. “We have banned the entry of people into forests during the breeding season of crocodiles from May 1 to July 31.
As female crocodiles turn violent during the nesting season, we have also advised farmers to remain cautious while carrying out agricultural activities in the riverside areas. The Forest department has recently erected barricades at around 80 river ghats around Bhitarkanika in Aul, Rajkanika and Pattamundai blocks to prevent the crocodiles from attacking human beings,” DFO Yadav added. Bhitarkanika is home to around 1,793 saltwater crocodiles as per this year’s reptile census.