On many occasions, the alleged inaction of the Forest officials are blamed for loss of lives and property for man-animal conflict. However, the brave act of Chitta Ranjan Miri, a Forest Guard posted in Naktideul forest range of Odisha’s Sambalpur district is receiving laurels from all quarters.
Matters came to the fore after a video clip of Miri’s bravery went viral on various social media platforms.
Miri recently saved himself, his colleagues and many villagers from the attack of a male tusker at Chadchadi village in the district.
Around 4 pm on the fateful day, the Forest personnel in the range received the news of an elephant straying into the farmlands at Chadchadi village. Miri was tasked to drive the elephant away from the village into the jungle.
Accordingly, Miri along with his colleagues immediately reached the spot and warned the villagers to stay at a distance from the giant.
After when various methods to shoo the elephant away failed, Miri decided to confront the elephant with a burning torch in his hand.
Even though the tusker charged dangerously at him, Miri stood firm on his ground. After a brief stalemate, the pachyderm decided to back off and gently walked away into the nearby forest.
“After receiving reports from a local Gaja Sathi, about an elephant entering into Chadchadi village, we immediately rushed to the spot and saw the elephant feasting on the standing crops in a farmland. We asked the villagers to maintain distance as it was risky to go near the elephant and if the animal went on a rampage, the situation would go out of hand,” Miri told OTV.
He went on, “My team along with villagers screamed and made loud noises to disperse the elephant but it did not move an inch. Subsequently, we made fire torches and I waved it at the elephant. The elephant left seeing the flames.”
“Even though I know it was dangerous to go near the elephant and show the flames, I took the risk. There was a house in the vicinity and I was afraid if the elephant would damage it. Nevertheless, I would like to appeal to people and Forest officials to avoid taking such risks I did,” he said while cautioning about the dangers involved in getting closer to a wild elephant.
Miri who said his father was a source of inspiration for him, not only saved his own life but averted a major tragedy in the village.
“There are many brave Forest Guards like him who are driving away straying elephants from human habitats day in and day out. It was a part of my duty,” said Miri humbly.
“I am very thankful to Miri Babu because his bravery saved many lives that day. He is always prompt whenever we inform him about the presence of wild animals in the village,” said the Gaja Sathi who tipped off the Forest department about the tusker.