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Wild elephant kills youth in northern Chhattisgarh

RAIPUR: A youth was killed at Ambikapur in Surguja division and another elderly person suffered severe injuries at Marwahi in Bilaspur district in last two days as northern parts of Chhattisgarh face wild elephant attack.

According to sources, a youth was trying to chase away an elephant and got severely injured in that incident. He died while undergoing treatment at Ambikapur Mission hospital. In another incident, an elephant had ventured into the village after getting separated from its herd and went aggressive when it heard loud cries of people. It started running behind the crowd and trampled Arjun Gond, the terrified locals said.

Forest officials admitted that there was a lot of damage owing to elephants in crops, paddy, homes and human life, but they said nothing could be done except paying compensation to victims.

Victims, however, alleged that forest department takes months and sometimes a year to compensate which adds to their suffering. “Homelessness, loss of crops and life and no money means beginning life from scratch, but government doesn’t understand our pain,” Balam Gond, a local from Balrampur said.

Around 30 villages of Jashpur district also remain under threat and people are forced to spend sleepless nights. Over 70 houses were knocked down by herds of elephant in the region while six persons have died in incidents in last two months.

Driven to desperation, more than 16 families have left the villages in search of new home. Locals have been taking refuge at a school, spending nights awake, taking turns. On February 5, tuskers had trampled two villagers at Surajpur and Koriya districts to death, damaging 70-80 houses.