Saswat Singhdeo

Sundergarh: Panic gripped residents of Rajgangpur sub-division after a herd of 17 elephants destroyed crops and houses in the area today.

According to the villagers, the elephants strayed into areas including Sunakhandi, Bhaluduma, Bhikapada, Jaharumal, and Singhapadi during the night.

A villager alleged that elephants destroyed an anganwadi centre in Bhaluduma.

"Elephants broke the main door and ate food kept for children at the anganwadi centre," anganwadi worker, Emrisia Tirkey said.

Another local Bikram Toppo said "For last one month they have been wreaking havoc. Despite Forest department's efforts, nothing has been done so far."

On the other hand, local ranger has said that all sorts of efforts are being made to drive away the elephants.

"After getting information about the elephants at Hatiduma around 12 AM, we went to the spot and chased them away," Range officer of Rajgangpur, Chandrasekhar Patnaik, said.