Other States

Odisha villagers take MLA on forced march to assess jumbo damage

Annoyed over loss human lives, crops and property due to depredation by elephants over several months, angry villagers in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district forced their local legislator walk around the affected villages to assess the damage.

Forest department officials were also forced to walk along with Basanti Hembram, MLA of Karanjia constituency in Mayurbhanj.

Residents of Kadamodaka village under Karanjia block had blocked National Highway 220 at Tato over destruction caused by a herd of elephants from neighbouring Jharkhand for the past five months. They were demanding compensation for the loss of lives and property caused by the elephants and wanted the herd moved away from their village.

As chance would have it, Ms. Hembram’s convoy was passing through the area and was stopped by the crowd of protesters. Spotting the MLA in the vehicles, the villagers made her get off and walk around seven km to the village, showing her trampled crops and vegetable patches along the way. According to locals, about 10 acres of vegetable crops have been damaged by elephants in Tato, Kunjia and Beuria villages. During past one year, two persons had lost their lives in encounters with elephants.

Denying that she was forced to visit the affected villages, Ms Hembram said, “I was not evading the people. I had a vehicle and I could have easily sped past the agitating villagers. I stopped to inquire about incident. They informed that they were facing huge problem due to elephant depredation.”

Digant Sohbhan Pal, Assistant Conservator of Forest, said, “People are obviously angry. They wanted us to walk with them. We have been continuously trying to drive away elephants. We will deploy additional personal to chase off the herd.”

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:24:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-villagers-take-mla-on-forced-march-to-assess-jumbo-damage/article33637519.ece

Next Story