Himansu Shekhar Rout

An elephant that strayed from a forest under Sadar range in Sundargarh district to feed on paddy reportedly fell into a ditch near Sanadmakuda Bhagrapada on Sunday. The animal got stuck inside the deep pit for hours before being rescued by the forest department.

As per reports, local residents spotted the animal inside the pit full of water. It was unsuccessfully struggling to come out. The villagers informed the forest department which immediately deployed an excavator at the site. A narrow pit was dug near the ditch. The elephant finally came out and fled into the forest. 

For the last several days, elephants have been wreaking havoc on paddy crops in the area even as harvesting season comes closer. 

Ranger Arun Kumar Behera said that the elephant was rescued and released into the forest. “There are now three elephants in the range. People are encroaching upon the forest land as a result of which elephants are straying out of the forests,” he pointed out. 

Elephants have also been destroying crops in Chakapada area of Kandhamal district, leaving farmers to lose their sleep. Many farmers alleged that a herd of 18 elephants has damaged crops on 10 acres of land. Local people, panicked over elephant mayhem, have been provided firecrackers by the forest department to scare away the animals. 

Affected farmers demanded compensation for the crop damage.   The ranger of Tikabali has assured that the affected farmers will be provided compensation as per the existing norms.

Report by Debrabrata Jena