Dhenkanal: Aghast at the massive damage caused to acres of paddy crop by a herd of 25 wild elephants in Pada village under Hatura panchayat, the hapless villagers have demanded compensation claiming that it has been their sole source of livelihood.
The area comes under the jurisdiction of Dhenkanal district’s Hindol forest limits.
In her reactions, aggrieved woman farmer Banita Sahoo said, “All our male members are outside. We, the female members of our family, are into cultivation. We demand compensation for our loss as our children will suffer a lot.”
Demanding compensation, another farmer Buddhadeb Sahoo alleged, “The forest officials hounded the herd of elephants to our side and our whole village is suffering now. Minimum 200 acres of paddy crop has got damaged and about 150 farmers are at loss. The loss has been in a radius of 3 km.”
Yet another aggrieved farmer Basant Kumar Sahoo complained, “The forest officials had come here after we phoned them. They had erected 4-5 fences here, but to no avail. A herd of 25 elephants wreacked havoc. The forest officials didn’t come here and went to other villages. Hence, all our villagers had to fend for ourselves nightlong by guarding our crop and also faced the elephant menace. We have taken loan from the cooperative bank. We demand compensation.”
Sarpanch Nirakar Pradhan reacted, “I had been to the spot in the morning. The aggrieved farmers showed me their damaged crop. Here 90% people are farmers solely dependent on cultivation. Hence, I urge the Government to initiate a proper probe into it and compensate the farmers. I have procured the forms meant for the application. The farmers will be immensely benefitted.”