Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: After drawing criticism from various quarters following the tragic death of seven elephants in Dhenkanal, Odisha has now geared up for the protection of jumbos in the state.

The State government has decided to appoint an SDO rank officer in each district of the state to monitor and keep surveillance on the movement of elephants.

Odisha Energy Minister Susant Singh today informed that “An SDO rank officer will be appointed in every district of the state to monitor the movement of jumbos. The concerned officer will maintain co-ordination between the forest and energy department."

"We are taking steps for ‘zero casualty’ of elephants due to electrocution in the coming days," said Singh adding that shagging electric lines will be rectified within in a month on war footing across the state.

Chief Wildlife Warden Sandeep Tripathy, said, "The Energy department will carry out work on shagging wires. Following this, a joint verification will be carried out. Efforts will be made that this incident does not recur."

On the other hand, man and animal conflict continued in Mayurbhanj district as villagers of Chitrada, Haladipal and Shirsapal were in panic after elephant strayed into human habitat.

"We are staying indoors as the elephants has strayed near to villages," Sujata Sethi, a Haladipal resident:

Meanwhile, forest staff have been trying hard to drive back elephants into the wild. "Along with APR force, 100 staff of the forest department have been deployed to chase pachyderms into forest," said. BB Swain, Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Baripada divison.

Earlier, seven elephants had died due to electrocution in Dhenkanal district on October 27.

According to reports, a herd of 13 elephants had strayed into the region in search of food when they came in contact with the high voltage live wire pulled at a height of 5 feet above the ground that was laid for the construction of railway tracks in the area.

On the other hand when asked about the return of the Odia labourers stranded in Kerala, Singh who also heads the Labour department said "Efforts are on by the State government to rescue 30 Odia labourers who are stranded in Kerala."

He further informed that an official of labour department will leave for Kerala tomorrow.