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Villages face jumbo wrath
- Herd of 17 destroys huts, crops in Bokaro’s Jhumra

Bokaro, Aug. 1: Rampaging elephants damaged 10 houses and crops of farmers in two panchayat areas of Gomia block, 65km from Bokaro steel city, since last night.

The herd of 17, which is still huddled in Jhumra jungles and constantly shifting between Pachmo and Murhulsudi panchayats, came from Hazaribagh-Ramgarh forests around 10pm and first entered Pachmo panchayat.

Villagers were caught unawares as they went on the rampage in an area of more than 8sqkm, pulling down houses and scaring away the occupants.

Till early morning, the herd had damaged the huts of Bhuvneshwar Ganjhu, Ledo Ganjhu, Nirmal Mahto, Sahdeo Mahto, Mahadeo Mahto, Mohan Ganjhu, Surendra Ganjhu, Ledan Ganjhu and Khirhar Mahto. They also plundered foodgrains and mahua stocked at the houses.

In nearby Murhulsudi, it destroyed the paddy crops of farmers Sushil Mahto, Ragho Mahto, Sukhram Munda and Fanindra Nath.

Narrating their ordeal to The Telegraph over phone, Bhuvneshwar said: “I was sleeping with my family members when the elephants struck. The commotion woke us up and we were shocked to see the jumbos inside our house. All of us fled.”

Soon after the incident, farmers informed village mukhiya Tej Narayan Mahto, who, in turn, contacted Bokaro DFO Arvind Manish.

Early on Friday, Manish sent a team, led by Tenughat forest range officer Anil Kumar Singh, to the affected areas. The officials handed over crackers, kerosene oil, drums and other essentials to the villagers to chase away the herd.

“As per latest information available with us, the elephants are wandering in the Purnapani-Parbatpur-Ladyam jungle zone of Jhumra. Necessary measures are being taken to drive them away towards Giridih and Dhanbad. During this time of the year, elephants usually stay put inside forests as there is enough food. But this year, insufficient rainfall seems to have prompted them to look for water and food elsewhere,” Manish said.