KENDRAPARA: A saltwater crocodile once again claimed the life of a 62-year-old buffalo grazer in Rajapur village, located near the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district. This marks the sixth fatality within a span of just over two months in the area, as these relentless attacks continue to plague riverside communities.
The incident happened around 8:30 am when the victim Abhaya Rout was suddenly attacked and dragged away by a crocodile while he was washing utensils in knee-deep water along the riverbank. Shocked, his 30-year-old son, Anil Rout, and another villager Ashok Rout, who were present at the spot raised alarm and bravely attempted to rescue Abhaya, but the reptile seized him and vanished into the water. Hours later, villagers, along with fire brigade personnel and forest guards, recovered a partially-eaten body from the river.
Local fishermen, like Madan Behera from Rajpur, lamented the crocodile menace and said, “The livelihoods of many riverside villagers who rely on fishing are now endangered.”Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika National Park, Sudarshan Gopinath Yadav, confirmed that the Forest department will provide a compensation of `6 lakh to the family of the deceased after inquiry.