Somatirtha Purohit

Panic gripped local residents in several parts of Odisha on Saturday after wild elephants entered the residential areas damaging crops and property besides killing an elderly man.

Fagu Hansdah of Bajarsul village under Jaleswar block of Balasore district died in elephant attack early morning today. According to sources, he had gone outside to attend natures' call when he was attacked by a tusker. He died on the spot.

In another incident, a lone elephant separated from its herd destroyed acres of standing vegetable and paddy crops in villages under Bonai forest range in Sundargarh district.

Reportedly, the jumbo entered the village in search of food and destroyed crop fields. The tusker also damaged four houses at Jangala village. The villagers fled their houses fearing attack by the pachyderm.

Though the villagers tried to chase away the elephant, but failed. After their unsuccessful attempts, they lodged a complaint with the forest department, following which, forest officials have been deployed in the area. The forest officials along with the locals launched operation to drive away the elephant.

Similarly, a herd of elephants unleashed terror in Khordha district. The wild animals destroyed boundary wall of a park near the district Collector's office and triggered panic in the locality.

Locals informed the forest officials and along with them they tried to drive the jumbo away. Later, the herd moved towards Barunei forest.