Keonjhar: He is famous for facing wild elephants with just a stick in his hand. Naresh Mahant is the person sought by villagers in Champua forest range of Keonjhar district during jumbo rampages.
Naresh is the one man army to rely upon during crises for people in various villages near Kaliprasad forest under Champua range who are always in a state of panic over persistent elephant attacks on their houses and crops.
“We call him whenever elephants enter our village. He faces the elephants with just a stick in his hand without any fear. Even if any elephant chases him he takes a few steps back and returns again to face the animal,” said a villager, Rupeshwar Munda.
Startlingly, the jumbos heed his command and return to forest.
Naresh is a member of a special squad in forest department to chase away wild elephants.
“It is since 2011 that we are chasing elephants. We have become friends with the animal. We have also identified which elephant is fierce and which is not,” said Naresh.
It has been years that Naresh is working in this manner and has received applauds from his department for it.
“Naresh has set an example through his work, his style is unique and the forest department will reward him for his courage. We will also refer his name for a State level award,” said Keonjhar DFO, Rohit Kumar Lenka.