Sajanagad: Even as 140 elephants from Jharkhand are reportedly heading for Nilagiri in Balasore district, the forest department held a coordination meeting here Thursday and has drawn up a plan to check their entry.
The meeting was presided over DFO Bishnuraj Panda at conference hall of the block office. The meeting reviewed preparedness and discussed issues like possible loss of properties and damage assessment.
Former MLA Pradipta Panda and Akshay Acharya and Chittranjan Sarangi said during the stay of the elephants in the area, the administration should take immediate steps like supply of cooked food, more allocation of kerosene quota per head and 24-hour electricity supply for the local people. They demanded that steps should be taken to prevent entry of the elephants.
During the discussion, forest officials made it clear that as per law, the movement of elephants can’t be halted, but loss caused by the animals can be compensated.
The officials laid stress on strengthening trenches and solar-powered fences. The meeting followed a report that the approaching elephants have been a cause of concern for villagers in Nilagiri at a time when farmers are reaping paddy.
The meeting was attended by sub-collector Aboli Sunil Narwane, tehsildar Manorama Bhuyan, BDO Manas Ranjan Ray, PA (ITDA) Manas Ranjan Padhi, block chairperson Janaki Singh, ABDO Jogendranath Rout and some people’s representatives.
The 140 elephants, which have strayed from Dalma sanctuary in Jharkhand, entered Asanabani under Betanoti range in Mayurbhanj district. The herd heading towards Nilagiri is expected to cross rivers Budhabalanaga and Kathpal at Mitrapur. PNN