Sundargarh, September 23: Villagers in the Bonai area of Sundargarh district have expressed strong protest at forest officials’ sheer inattention to the elephant threat they have long faced.
“Elephants have damaged our crops and property. We spend sleepless nights. But the forest officials are in a deep sleep at our plight,” the villagers said.
Elephants have been moving in the human-inhabited areas in the Basuan area under the Bonai Forest subdivision for many days. But the Forest Service says they are unaware of the Jumbo presence there.
Sources said elephants ate and destroyed vegetables on acres of land in Rengama village. Poor tribal farmers had grown vegetables on a total of 45 acres of land with DMF funds. Now they have suffered a great loss.
Over a hundred families, all of them tribal, live in the village. They used to live on daily wages. Recently, they breathed a sigh of relief when they were provided with DMF funds to do cultivation and become independent. However, elephants appear to have been on the path of economic transition.
“We have informed the Forest Service of the incursion of elephants into our area and how they are damaging our crops. But the department hasn’t done anything yet,” Farmer regretted.
Claiming that forestry squads never came to drive out the pachyderms, villagers have threatened to wipe out the forestry agency soon.
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