Nilagiri (Odisha), Nov.11 (ANI): A herd of 83 elephants has strayed into the Nilagiri area of Odisha's Balasore District and is eating and trampling cultivated crop.
The elephant rampage has left residents of about 20 villages in a state of panic and dismay.
The elephant herd is said to have come from the Dalma Sanctuary in Jharkhand state after travelling nearly 20 kilomters in one night.
Srikant Nayak, a resident of Balasore district, said:"The authorities came and told us to stay at least 3 kilometres away from the elephants and not to scare them. They said that the elephants will go away on their own and then left."
People fear the worst as the herd, divided into groups, is stationed in and around human habitations.
A distressed villager said that the elephants had destroyed the paddy crops across acres of land.
Forest officials said that the herd sneaked into the district from India's neighbouring eastern Jharkhand state .
Laxman Kumar Pradhan, Range Officer of Nilagiri,said: "Different villagers are coming to disturb them. We are trying to maintain discipline in the village here. We have constituted five to six groups to trap the elephants with the help of fireworks and fire crackers."
The residents claimed that they had complained to the forest authorities a number of times but got no positive response from the officials.
Elephants in India are under threat, with an increasing number being poached for ivory.
Depletion of their habitat has also threatened the elephants, forcing them to stray into human settlements and attacking people. (ANI)