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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar/Keonjhar: At a time when the security of elephants in Odisha has become a cause of serious concern, rampant stone quarrying at Baghamundia area of Telkoi-Pallahara elephant corridor under Keonjhar Forest Division has led to rise in man-animal conflicts.

As per reports, there has been a spurt in the number of stone quarries in the sensitive elephant corridor area since last year.

As the region is an eco-sensitive zone dedicated for movement of elephants, unbridled mining activities is forcing the pachyderms to venture out of the reserve forests towards human settlements.

Locals blame the administration for granting permission to leaseholders for carrying out mining in the area. Social activists have also raised questions over the modus operandi of the government behind allowing the quarrying activities in the region.

"The area lies on the elephant movement route between the core forest zones and elephants frequently pass through it. But now they try to pass through villages situated nearby which pose threat to their lives as well as the villagers," a local, Pandav Patra said.

Range Officer of Telkoi, Pitambar Nayak accepted that the habitats of the elephants have been affected due to the mining activities.

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