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Jumbo fear in Bokaro villages

- Hungry herd damages 22 houses, team sent for relief

Bokaro, May 8: A herd of 17 elephants wreaked havoc in Gomia of Bokaro district last night, pulling down as many as 22 houses and destroying quintals of foodgrains. No one was injured in the incident.

The animals, which entered Maoist-affected Jhumra from Ramgarh jungles on Tuesday night, tramped across three villages — around 80km from Bokaro steel city — apparently in search of water. They damaged 11 houses in Padnatand village, 10 in Sariyapani and one in Vivahi Mahua village, besides destroying rice, mahua, maize and stocks of other food grains.

Local panchayat head Tej Narayan Mahto said farmers suffered huge losses and sought compensation from the district administration for them.

“People here are living in constant threat. We have requested forest officials to do something to chase away the elephants,” Mahto added.

On Thursday morning, Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh sent assistant forest conservator Shambhu Prasad to the villages to take stock of the damages caused by the tuskers.

“The victims will be given compensation once the assessment is complete,” Singh said.

According to forest officials, the elephants are now anchored in Dania jungles near Bokaro river, about 30km from the villages.

Bokaro district forest officer Arvind Manish said a team of 10 men, including foresters, had been deployed to keep tabs on the elephants and slowly drive them towards Koderma or Dhanbad jungles.

“We are doing everything for the safety of the villagers living in this zone,” he added.