Villagers flee homes fearing elephants

Jumbo menace has forced people to leave their houses in the district. A herd of elephants have been running amok at Bamra block in Sambalpur district, along Sundargarh border, over the last couple of days.

Forest officials said the herd has crossed over from Jharkhand and is creating havoc in bordering villages of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts. After destroying more than 100 houses in Laikera and Kolabira block of Jharsuguda district, the herd headed toward Bamra block on Friday. People do not feel safe to go out of their house after dark because of the rampaging elephants.

“We are conducting a survey on destruction of houses. We will pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to people, whose houses were destroyed completely. We have formed a team to drive the elephants into forest,” DFO (Jharsuguda) A K Kar said. He said the elephants are raiding the villages during night.

Residents of Muslikani and Budelkani villages of Bamra block have left their houses and taken shelter in nearby villages after elephants destroyed their houses on Friday night. Forest officials said after destroying several houses in Ledimacha village on Thursday night, the elephants entered Budelkani village and destroyed 11 houses. The elephants also devoured paddy and rice kept inside houses.

“We had no other option than running away from the village to save our lives, leaving everything. We are now homeless,” said a resident of Budelkani village.

Ivory mafia shot dead an elephant on January 20 in Jamenkira range and another one on January 24 in Dhama range of Sambalpur district and took away their tusks.

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