Champua/Barbil: Even as there was no let-up in elephant menace in Champua range and Barbil area of Keonjhar, the forest department has allegedly failed to contain the mayhem. An elderly woman was trampled to death by a tusker Tuesday night at Kolha Rudhkela in Barbil area.
The department is said to be plagued by shortage of staff which has been a major cause of failure to rein in the elephant menace.
Farming community was worst affected by it. With paddy crops and vegetables being trampled and destroyed on a daily basis, they have voiced their concern and demanded effective step against the problem. The animals have damaged paddy extensively in Godhuli, Jagannathpur, Kainta, Rajia, Dolita, Mirigisinga, Indraprasta, Satahalia, Kalikaprasad, Sarei and Tuntuna under Champua range.
The animals have damaged paddy in 10 acres Tuesday night at Jayantinapur.
As a calf was born, the 23-member herd has been refusing to leave the area, locals said.
Farmers alleged that their economic condition was shattered by the elephants.
They demanded immediate deployment of elephant squads and right assessment of the crop damage.
Champua forester Ranjit Kumar Jena said at many places, villagers have obstructed the tracks of elephants as a preventive measure against the entry of animals.
“We have to take help of police to remove such obstructions,” he added.
Gradually, discontent among local people is brewing. They lamented that in the day time, elephants were holed up in forests and come out to damage paddy at night.
A few days ago, two herds of elephants extensively had damaged crops in the area under Balibandh and Bamebri sections. The frequent visits of animals to farmlands have robed the sleep of the farmers.
Reports from Barbil said, a 22-member elephant herd has been unleashing mayhem in the area while a tusker killed an elderly woman identified as Gurubari Munda at Kolha Rudkela.
The incident triggered panic in the area. People were scared of venturing out in the evening.
Forest officials sent the body for post mortem and said that the family of the deceased will be provided with compensation.