Keonjhar: Scores of heavy vehicles plying in Keonjhar district for extraction and transportation of minerals has posed a serious threat to the free movement of elephants, leading to human-animal conflicts, said sources.
Parking of hundreds of heavy vehicles on National Highway-49 leaves little space for free movement of animals, said sources. The trucks have to stand in queues on the highway and adjoining roads waiting for their turn to carry minerals. As a result, the passage for wild animals gets shrunk, prompting them to stray into the nearby villages. This often leads to loss of human lives and properties.
The man-animal conflict is only increasing by the day while forest officials are clueless about a lasting solution to the problem.
The Kaipur-Anjar stretch on NH-49 has become a vulnerable zone for the pachyderms. Elephant herds residing in forests under Bhuyan and Juanga Pidha ranges are finding it difficult to cross the highway with hundreds of trucks parked en route. Unable to cross the highway, a herd of nine elephants have stayed put at Bhejidihi- Talakainsiri jungle (Badaghagra Road) and are unleashing a reign of terror in the area.
This has spread panic among the residents. According to latest reports, the jumbo herd is now holed up in the jungle near Sanamachhakandana river bank and destroying crops and properties of people. The presence of the herd has posed a serious threat to the tourists visiting Badaghagra waterfall this winter season.
The blazing lights of hundreds of trucks parked on the highway near Kaipur and the deafening sound of their horns are deterring the animals to move from one jungle to another.
Environmentalists have demanded an early solution to the problem. Zilla parishad chairperson Kamalini Patra has apprised the DFO and sub-collector about the problem. However, the authorities are yet to come up with a solution.
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