Extensive damage to paddy crop in 16 villages by elephant herd

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Phulbani: A herd of 11 elephants has extensively damaged standing paddy crop and other plantations in 16 tribal villages of Kandhamal district, officials said today.

Crops and vegetables spread over in atleast 200 acres of cultivated land in villages under Brahmunigam, Kumbhariguda, Katingia and Jhinjiriguda panchayats under Brahmunigam Forest Range in Balliguda Forest Division were damaged in the last 10 days, they said.

Areas in Kinarigam, Padikia, Salba, Balagudi and Kutlarigam have suffered extensive damage, they said.

The pachyderms are staying on the outskirts of the villages creating panic in the locality. But no report of any loss of life was received so far, tbey said.

The herd is believed to have come from adjoining Lakhari forest in Gajapati district which is known as their natural habitat, official sources said.

Asiwini Kumar Mohanty, Forest range Officer of Brahmunigam said a vigil was being maintained on the elephants.

If the farmers report about crop loss due to elephant strike, necessary steps would be taken for giving compensation, he said.

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