Pradeep Pattanayak

Pent-up anger of villagers in elephant-infested Deogaon village under Dudhiani range in Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday came out as they held a forester and 10 elephant chasers captive.  

The irate villagers demanded that the jumbos be chased away from their village and suitable compensation for the damaged crops provided  to them. 

As per the last information received, the forester and elephant chasers have been rescued by the police.

According to a source, a herd of 27 elephants has been causing massive destruction in Dudhiani range area, forcing the villagers and farmers to spend sleepless nights. A herd of jumbos strayed into Deogaon village and damaged standing crops in paddy fields. At this, the angry villagers drew the line and held forester Phaguram Besra and 10 elephant chasers captive. 
The villagers also demanded transfer of forester Besra. 

“The marauding elephants have been damaging our hard-grown crops. We have not received a pie towards compensation. We request the forest department to keep the elephants in their areas and not let them come to our village,” rued BIramani Naik, a villager. 

Echoing the same, another villager Buddhiana Mahanta said, “The department is doing nothing to drive the elephants away from our locality. Yesterday night, elephants had entered our paddy fields at around 9 pm. The forest department staff reached our village at 5am.  Instead of visiting the spot, the tipsy staff stayed put at the village end. They came only when we called them. We held them captive demanding for compensation.”

When asked, Dudhiani ranger Pradeep Kumar Prusty said, “They haven’t received the compensation of last year’s crop loss. This is why the villagers are angry. They are at the end of their tether. I want to tell them that the process is being done online. Once money is received from Bhubaneswar, it would be distributed. We are aware of the problem. We are trying to chase the elephants away into Jharkhand forest. But we have failed in our attempt because the villagers are not cooperating with us.”