Elephants destroy paddy crops in West Midnapore

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 07:40 hrs

A herd of 150 elephants strayed into a village in West Midnapore District, West Bengal, and trampled crops and ravaged paddy fields spread in over 25 hectares.

Farmers have expressed their anguish due to the increase in frequency of rampage by the elephants, resulting in huge losses.

"I am a poor farmer and I have already lost my 3 bighas (unit of measurement of land) of paddy crops. Now it is a nightmare for me as how I will manage food for next year. Though our houses our not attacked but our paddy is destroyed. Even our family members are worried," said Nirmal Hansda, villager.

Villagers blamed the forest rangers as they failed to prevent the elephants from straying into the jungle and towards human habitation.

However, a forest official, Madhusudan Mukherjee, said that though the paddy fields were damaged, there were no causalities.

"It is not possible to chase away the herd of elephants back into the forest as they will destroy more crops on their way. We want to minimize the damage and we want that the herd of elephants should leave quietly on their own. Though some paddy fields are destroyed, there are no casualties," he said.

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.

The elephants often stray into the villages in search of food and then go on a rampage when confronted by villagers.

The 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)

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