Sajanagad: Even as a herd of elephants strayed from Dalma forest in Jharkhand and entered Tinikosia forest in Balasore in the wee hours of Wednesday, local people were panicked and spent sleepless night by burning fire to ward off the animals. The animals damaged paddy in farmlands close to the forest.
Farmers were worried for the animals which have come to the area at a time when paddy has been flowering.
The herd comprised over 40 elephants which every year strays into Nilagiri area from Jharkhand’s Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in search of food.
At some places, solar fencing near the forested villages has caved in. To make things worse, the trenches dug out by the forest department to keep the elephants at bay have got filled up.
Meanwhile, the forest department has started renovating the broke solar fencing in the area. People in Sataranda, Hatimunda, Tereladi, Dharigut, Bhalukasuni, Ambajhari and Bokamara remained awake all through the night apprehending attack from elephants.
On the other hand, forest department has deployed Sbuja bahini and a platoon of police to safeguard locals from elephants.
The forest department is reportedly pulling all stops to prevent the animals from entering the area. The officials are seen creating awareness among the locals on how to minimise the loss.
Acting on the direction of Balasore DFO Biswaraj Panda, senior forest officials like Nilagiri ranger Sukumar Nayak, Kuladiha ACFO Laxman Pradhan are keeping close watch on the animals.