Jamshedpur , Feb. 8 : Panic gripped villagers based along NH 33 as a herd of elephants from neighbouring Odisha entered Fadlugora village along NH 33 around midnight.
The village Fadlugora is situated near Kali Mandir, some 10 km from Jamshedpur in East Singhbhum. Traffic was hit along the highway for nearly an hour as villagers tried to drive away the herd of 16 elephants, including eight calves, from the scene. During the uproar, a young tusker fell into a ditch dug by villagers.
The herd of 16 elephants, waited for the tusker to return even as Fadugora residents armed with torches tried to drive away the herd. The tusker was later pulled out of the ditch by a forest team with help of a JCB. Fadugora village falls under Chandil forest territorial and is located near the Dalma sanctuary.
Dalma divisional forest officer C.M.P. Sinha said that elephants are moving animals and don�t target anyone unless they are irritated. The elephants were crossing Fadlugrorabut villagers took upon themselves to drive away the herd. A young tusker was left behind and fell into a ditch,� he added.
Chandil range officerC.N. Tripathy, who rushed Fadulora soon after the incident, also blamed villagers for forcibly driving away the herd. � We fail to understand why villagers tried of driving away the herd themselves. Our team are deployed daily from 5 pm near villages along the NH. The villagers should not have involved themselves in driving away the herd,� he told.
When on the one hand, the local villagers are panic stricken anticipating sudden intrusion of the wild elephants into their villages, on the other hand, they are getting increasingly angry at the sight of the damaged paddy filed.
According to a senior forest officer, the tuskers are moving from one place to another because this is the migratory season which will come to an end in March next year, but he claimed this was the first time that so huge a herd has come to village like this.
He pointed out that he was going to take corrective measures immediately so that the elephants may not destroy any more of the paddy crops by straying into the human habitats in the foothills of Dalma.
“As we cannot stop the elephants from migrating from one jungle to another, but can safeguard the villages from the tuskers’ attack on the villages as well as the paddy fields, we have set up separate teams for tuskers- driving wherever the chances of the menace is maximum,” said another forest official.
People are in state of havoc due to such menace. Sometimes villagers migrate to safer places for a week or more to avoid the sudden night-time attacks of the wild elephant herds.