Lalgarh (West Bengal), Nov.1: A herd of elephants strayed into villages in the Maoist hit district of Lalgarh and destroyed huge quantity of standing crop in West Bengal.
The pachyderms, about 85 in number, ravaged paddy fields of the villages of Pirakata, Ramgarh, Khasjungle destroying crop spread in over 10 hectares.
Though no casualty was reported, local farmers are angry due to increase in frequency of the rampage off late, resulting in massive losses.
Villagers blame the forest rangers for being incapable of preventing the elephants from straying into the jungle and towards human inhabitation.
Locals and farmers in the region live under the constant fear of being attacked by wild elephants, as they venture into the fields at night, eat their harvest and cause a lot of destruction
Farmers who have been bearing the brunt of the elephants regular strolls are now worried about how to feed their families and recover the huge financial losses.
“Many elephants have come here, but we aren’t scared of them. They have been coming here everyday and destroying our crop. Now we don’t know how to sustain or feed our children,” said Ashish Bhunia, a distressed villager.
The elephants often stray in to villages in search of food and then go on a rampage when confronted by villagers
In a desperate attempt to save the control the damage villagers were seen beating drums and chasing the herd with lit torches to scare away the elephants back to the borders of neighbouring state of Jharkhand.
Already reeling under the threat of rebels, local farmers struggle to make their ends meet, though repeated wreckage by elephants have been a cause of serious concern for the area that solely depends on agriculture.
Environmentalists and other experts have attributed the rise of such incidents to human encroachment and decreasing forest cover due to which elephants have started venturing more frequently into human inhabited places
India has over 50 per cent of Asiatic elephants, considered to be among the most intelligent animals. Unfortunately, the number of elephants has dwindled in recent years. (ANI)