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Man-elephant conflict hits Dhenkanal worst

Statesman News Service | Dhenkanal |

The man-elephant conflict has come to sharp focus here again with the death of a farmer and injuries to two others last week . Sixteen elephants die last year due to various reasons like poaching, electric shock and others while 20 people had died in elephant attacks.

Crossing Gengutia overbridge on Brahmani river has become dangerous say locals while pointing out at the increasing intrusion of herds. Since 2010, deaths of 402 elephants and 354 persons have been reported. It shows how critical human-elephant conflict is.Eighty-nine elephants were found to have perished due to disease while electrocution claimed lives of 64 elephants.

As elephants frequently come out from forests, ready to harvest crops have been damaged in over 64,394 acres of land in past year.Forest officers are hard pressed to tackle the situation. Keeping elephant herds at bay and at the same time persuading villagers with a sets of dos and dont’s.

Compounding he miseries of the forest officials here is the shortage of staff. A post of ACF out of 3, four posts of Range officers out of 10 , four deputy rangers of 10, 11 of 47 foresters , 37 of 130 forest guards are vacant for years in the division. Besides no trained veterinary surgeon is available admitted CDVO , Dhenkanal.

Forest department is yet to take any concrete steps to minimize casualties of elephants and people. ACF J N Dash admitted this has become headache for staff and authorities . We are facing law and order situation due to the man-elephant conflict which is on rise.

New Collector Nikhil Pavan Kalyan who told media persons on Sunday that expert advice is required to minimise casualties of elephants and human beings.This apart habitat development is required for elephants which he will review the ongoing steps and suggest visit of experts to the district.