Sajanagad: After a brief hiatus, a herd of 28 elephants from Jharkhand entered Nilgiri area of Balasore late Tuesday night.
The animals have now entered Gopalpur reserve forest after crossing Dalma sanctuary in Jharkhand, then Nadpur (Mayurbhbanj), Pundala, Kathapal, Durgadevi and Ajodhya.
The return of Jharkhand elephants has triggered panic in villages abutting Tinokopsia reserve forest.
After the entry of elephants, the Nesco authorities resorted to frequent power cuts, which have left the life miserable in villages amid the prevailing heat wave.
The elephants strayed from Jharkhand and passed through Mayurbhanj, Nadpur, Pundala, Kathapal, Durgadevi, Patana and Ayodhya before entering Gopalpur reserve forest.
The forest department has kept a close watch on the elephants so that they would not head towards villages.
Following a directive from DFO Biswaraj Panda, a team comprising Nilagiri ranger Sukumar Das, forest guards, members of Sabhuja Bahini have surrounded the animals in the forest and kept a close watch on their movement.
Forest officials advised the locals not to disturb the animals. People are cautioned against storing mahua flowers, handia and other sedative stuff in their houses.
As paddy is already harvested in the area, locals fear that the animals may damage their houses and their properties.
Notably, the area is being frequented by Jharkhand elephants every year. A herd of 38 elephants had caused mayhem in the area in October, 2018. Another herd of 58 jumbos spread terror in November last year. They had been pushed back into the Jharkhand side then.