| Solar-powered fences before and (above) after damage near Bhitarkanika National Park. Telegraph pictures
Kendrapara, June 16: A mob vandalised a solar-powered fencing near Talchua village on the fringes of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary after a local woman suffered a minor shock-induced injury yesterday.
Forest officials said the incident took place in the evening. The mob caused extensive damage to the solar-powered barrier that was put in place by the state forest department to curb intrusion of wild animals into human settlements.
The victim, Mamata Bera, 38, had made an unauthorised entry into the prohibited national park area for collecting forest products. She came in contact with the live solar fencing while sneaking through the barrier.
“The incident provoked the local residents and instigated by the local sarpanch, the angry locals vandalised the fencing barrier. About 100 metre of fencing has suffered extensive damage,” said Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, divisional forest officer of Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division.
On the basis of a complaint lodged by the forest personnel, police have registered cases under the Prevention Of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, besides Section 425 of the IPC (wrongful loss or damage to the public property). A separate case was also registered under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. No arrests have been made as all the accused have fled the village.
“Search is on to arrest them,” said Ramachandra Goud, sub-divisional police officer, Pattamundai.
The straying of wild boars had become a common feature before the fencing project was commissioned. The animals were eating up crops besides injuring people. Since the fencing barrier was erected, apart from couple of incidents, animal trespass cases have reduced.
“Once the animals come in contact with the fence, a mild shock jerks them. This shock-induced blow imbibes a fear psychosis in the animals and stops them from crossing it. But this pulsating solar current is harmless and does not cause physical injury to the animals,” Mahapatra said.