Elephants destroy crops in Phulbani

Phulbani: A herd of about 25 elephants, including eight tuskers, have destroyed standing paddy and other Rabi crops in Baliguda area of Kandhamal district, officials said today.

Believed to have migrated from neighbouring Urladani forest range in Kalahandi North Forest Division, the herd was roaming near 12 villages spread over Belghar, Tumudibandha and Baliguda forest range areas for last one week, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Baliguda, Janab Hanif Mohammed said.

Though it had damaged crops in a large tract, no one was injured nor any house was damaged by the rampaging elephants, he said.

About 25 employees were pressed into service to keep round-the-clock vigil and also drive them to natural habitat through their corridor by beating drums, blowing trumpet, bursting of crackers and lighting of "mashals", he said.

Though some of the elephants had left, a few of them were believed to be roaming the area, he said, adding to ensure their safety and security electricity connection was being disconnected in the area from dusk to dawn.

A herd of about 30 elephants had also come from the same place last year and damaged standing crops for about a week and the department had to toil hard to drive them out, he said.