Elephants are back in Rourkela. A herd comprising between 11 and 13 elephants on Sunday mid-night sneaked into Tumkela area adjacent to Sector-16 after crossing the Koel river and damaged three asbestos roof houses and returned to Kuanrmunda block.
Panposh range officer PK Dhal said the same herd on Thursday night had killed a villager at a forest area of Kuanrmunda and few months back, another villager at the same location.
Ten days back, herd had visited Tumkela and Pradhanpali areas. Over the past one year, presence of elephants around the city has been reported for at least a dozen times.
Rourkela Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjeev Kumar said the only way to get rid of the herd is to safely drive it back to its original habitation in Jharkhand forests. “But, lack of continuous forests dotted with human habitations are posing problem,” he said.
The herd during the daylight holed up inside the continuous reserve forests (RFs) stretch of Kamarpahar, Brahmani and Mudra of Kuanrmunda and came out in night. Recently, the elephants had raided the Livestock and Dairy Farm at Kuanrmunda and are often seen taking water from Sankh river near a railway bridge.
The DFO said the herd is not very violent and it would not be wise to provoke the animals. He said the South Easter Railway (SER) has been intimated to limit speed of trains on the single track and WESCO asked to correct the sagging live wires. He said as a precaution they are keeping regular track of the animals.
Between December and March, elephants raided villages at Bisra and Nuagaon blocks under the Rourkela forest division without human casualties. However, elsewhere under the Sundargarh forest division a single tusker had killed six persons in quick successions before being tamed in January.