Odisha: Dinabandhupur villagers seek action against jumbo invasions

Villagers have been forced to spend sleepless nights due to the constant fear of elephant invasions.
Affected farmers of Dinabandhupur village who met Mayurbhanj collector seeking action against elephant raids
Affected farmers of Dinabandhupur village who met Mayurbhanj collector seeking action against elephant raids

BARIPADA: The farmers of Dinabandhupur village under Sialghati panchayat within Badasahi police limits of Mayurbhanj district have urged the district administration and the state government to implement preventive measures against entry of elephants into their village.

On Thursday, a group of farmers, including Dibyajyoti Majhi, Pita Majhi, and Santanu Naik, met Mayurbhanj collector Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde expressing distress over a recent incident where eight elephants entered their village, damaging the house of two persons - Surya Majhi and Radhamohan Majhi.

Villagers have been forced to spend sleepless nights due to the constant fear of elephant invasions, which have become a frequent occurrence, resulting in damaged houses, crops, and stored paddy, they said. “These elephant raids have affected our livelihood and economic condition, as the animals destroy standing crops cultivated during rabi and kharif seasons,” the farmers stated narrating their ordeal.

While the Forest department provides compensation for crop and property damage, the farmers argued that the amount is insufficient to cover their investments. They stressed that human lives are at risk due to the man-animal conflict, and compensation cannot equate to the value of life.

The villagers alleged their repeated appeals to the local forest officials, including the range officers of Betnoti and the DFO of Baripada, have yielded no effective action.

The farmers submitted a memorandum to Shinde detailing their grievances and requested urgent intervention.

The collector assured them that necessary steps would be taken and the Forest department will be asked to investigate the issue.

Rashgobindpur range officer Ghanashyam Singh explained that the forest department is implementing initiatives to prevent elephants from entering human habitats. He informed about installation of solar fencing, which can deter elephants from farmland and village areas. Under this scheme, the community can receive a 90 per cent subsidy, and individuals can get a 50 per cent subsidy for installing solar fences on their properties. “The farmers have been encouraged to apply for these installations to protect their fields and homes from elephant incursions,” he said.

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