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Chhattisgarh News
Elephants give sleepless nights to tribal people in Chhattisgarh
02-12-2014

RAIPUR: Herds of elephants, migrating from Jharkhand and Odisha, are giving sleepless nights to villagers of over a dozen hamlets in Chhattisgarh. With elephant menace at its peak, locals from Raigarh, Jashpur and Korba districts are spending nights on trees, left with no option, but to shiver out in the open.

Hapless villagers said tuskers frequently raid crops at nights, while returning into the thickets at dawn. “It terrifies us when we hear elephants trumpeting and have to storm out of our homes to save our lives. The trouble makers damage our homes in search of food leaving us without shelter in the middle of night,” said Dudharu Jagat, a resident of Jamtoli.

Jamtoli remains most affected, where a woman was trampled to death and over eight houses were damaged in a week’s time. “With crops ready by winters and stocked at homes, tuskers get access to easily available food and mahua fruit, they are fond of,” said Barno Saay.

Divisional forest officer, K Miachieo, said locals are being asked not to go to forests to collect firewood or relieve themselves and avoid direct conflict with elephants.

“Under 'Gajaraj' scheme, the state government will soon provide storage rooms to farmers, so that they can stock their crops. The scheme will also facilitate fencing around villages and provide torches to villagers,” the DFO said.

Our priority is to bring down elephant attack cases, which have decreased in last three years, he added.

Villagers of Raigarh’s Dharamjaigarh region, Korba’s Bundeli and Mudunara region, expressed helplessness in saving their crops and houses from being damaged by elephant attack. They form groups called ‘hulla party’, beat drums and burst crackers to chase the tuskers out of human settlement.

Locals said full-grown crops are ready to be taken to markets, but they are scared that the herd might chase or attack them. “Currently, there are around 200 elephants in the region and it has become like a habitat for them. They roam around in herd of 50 and can’t be chased away easily.”