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Ramakanta Biswas

Cuttack: Farmers of Lingapada village in Athagarh block of Cuttack district are forced to spend sleepless nights guarding their farmlands as wild elephants and boars continue to run amok and destroy their paddy crops.

Holding lanterns, torches and by burning tyres, the farmers are reportedly guarding their farmlands throughout the night in this chilling winter to protect their crops from the wild animals.

The farmers alleged that elephants and boars from the nearby forest are straying into their farmland and destroying crops. They further allege that despite repeated complaints, the forest department is yet to take any step to chase away the wild animals.

Narrating his plight, a farmer, Balaram Sahu of Lingapada said, “I have grown paddy on 10 acre of land and vegetables on two acre. For the last two to three months, wild elephants and boars from the nearby forest are repeatedly destroying my crops. Over 200 wild boars enter the farmlands in the area after dusk every day. If we try to chase them away, they attack us.”

“Now, we have to stay awake throughout the night to protect our crops from the wild animals. We light fire, beat tins and burst crackers to drive away the animals,” Sahu added.

Another farmer said, “We have approached the Khuntuni ranger and divisional forest officer (DFO) in this regard several times, but they are only assuring us by saying that we will be compensated. However, the compensation is not enough. If we incur loss of Rs 50,000, the forest department will grant us only Rs 5,000.”

The story will be updated after getting the comments of the concerned forest official on the allegations.

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