Odishatv Bureau

Sonepur: Wild elephant menace continues unabated in the bordering villages of the district dominated by forests as a herd of jumbos once again entered the human habitats damaging crops and properties in the Banki forest range on Saturday.

According to reports, a herd of 18 pachyderms entered the Padmapur and Barghat areas in Banki range and destroyed around 10 houses in the village under Ulunda block. Adding to the woes of the farmers,  paddy crops grown on three acres have also been destroyed after the jumbos raided the fields, sources said.

The villagers alleged that the herd entered the villages from Rairakhol  and were grazing in the fields during the early hours of the day.

“Of my four acres land, three acres have been destroyed by the elephants. Due to insufficient rains in our area this year, we are already tensed. We have informed the forest department and they assured us to provide necessary compensation,’’ said Bibek Kumar Panda, a farmer.

Also Read: Elephant menace daunts people in Keonjhar

While the forest officials are initiating measures to drive out the elephants back to the forests, Sonepur DFO Debarchana Behera said compensation will, however, be provided to the farmers.

“The 18 elephants, four of which are babies, have sneaked into the villages from Rairakhol area. The farmers are advised to inform us through an application whatever loss they have incurred within a week. We will assess and provide crop loss compensation within 15 days,” Debarchana said.

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