Keonjhar (Orissa), July 8 : Panic has gripped residents of Joda village in Orissa's Keonjhar District after a wild elephant mowed down a villager and damaged a few houses near the National Highway over the weekend.
The incident has spread a feeling of fear in the village, which is situated about 70 km from Keonjhar town.
According to reports, the elephant continues to roam freely on the highway in search of food.
This conflict between man and animal has increased in the recent days, as animals are often found searching for food in human habitations. This particular wild elephant, according to the villagers, has blocked vehicles and grabbed food such as bananas from them. When the animal fails to find food, he breaks the windows of the vehicles.
Uday Giri, a local, says he is worried.
"When we come on the road, the elephant comes in our way. We are scared and get off the vehicle. Thereafter, the elephant eats whatever food, which is available inside the vehicle. Sometimes, if it does not get the food, it damages the vehicle," said Giri.
"We are taking preventive measures for the entry of the elephant into Joda village. That is our first priority because it is a concentrated township. We are making arrangements for monitoring the movements of the elephant and to have lesser conflicts between the moving traffic and the elephant," said Pradeep Raj Karat, a divisional forest official.
A national census in 2005 shows there were 25,000 to 28,000 elephants in India, including only 1,500 male tuskers of breeding age.