Bahalpur (Koria) (Chhattisgarh) , Sep.21 : Several villagers in Chhattisgarh's Koria district are faced with elephants' terror in their residential areas since herds of elephants have caused havoc in their lives. These elephants have also become a major nuisance for the State authorities here.
Villagers complain, herds of elephants keep rampaging their stocks of crops and property.
At the Bahalpur Village, herds of wild elephants have caused massive losses to the local residents ever since the jumbos have fancied the standing crops of rice fields.
Also, in the process, these elephants have literally caused stampede by destroying farmers' cottages and even pulling down well-built houses.
Though no loss of life has been reported so far but villagers live in a constant fear of being attacked by elephants any time of the day.
Apart from destroying standing crops in paddy fields, the herds have gobbled up almost all the rice stored by villagers by brining down the humble abodes of the farmers.
Afraid of elephants' herd, many of the villagers had to flee from their home and hearth. They fear returning unless concerned authorities take control of elephants' menace.
"The elephants came from both the sides of our house. I was cooking inside and could not escape as they covered the entire house from outside. I kept hiding for sometime inside the house. The elephants broke the wall and entered inside eating up the rice stored inside. After some time they managed to get inside and I escaped from the house somehow saving my life," recalled Chandkumari, a victim resident of Bahalpur Village..
Meanwhile, the Sarpanch (village head) of Bahalpur wish to get relief for the affected villagers along with compensation from the Government as many of the affected villagers have been forced to abandon their homes.
"We have received complaints and will forward it to the authorities. We will demand compensation for the loss they have suffered. The elephants also ate up the rice, which was kept in stock for the society. We will provide them with food and shelter for three to four days from now onwards" said Raj Mohan, Sarpanch (headman) Bahalpur village.
Officials of the Forest Department admit that herds of elephants have invaded human habitation and said that in the past, the affected families had been compensated for their losses.
The Deputy Conservator of Forests, Koria Range noted that the elephants have a good sense of smelling and they can track rice and Mahua (country brew) from many miles. This is the reason they target villages.
"Elephants have a good sense of smell and like Mahua and rice. They have eaten up lots of standing crops in the fields here and we have details of all these. We will try to give relief and compensation to the affected as soon as possible," said K. K. Khailwar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Koria Range, Chhattisgarh.
Deforestation is the prime cause leading many elephants to go outside the barren jungles in search of food. Consequently, villages skirting forests or lying within the ambit of forest lands are the prime targets of wild herd of elephants as such setting up of hurdles to block their path including not too deep trenches need a serious and urgent attention. By Shiv Shankar Sarthi