Locals protest in Jhargram as elephants raid villages, damage crops

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Jhargram (WB), Feb 22 (PTI) Houses were damaged, crops ruined and a baby injured as a herd of elephants has been on a rampage in West Bengal's Jhargram district over the past few days, protesting against which locals blocked a highway, officials said on Monday.

The herd of 45 elephants from Dalma in nearby Jharkhand has damaged houses and crops in Adharjora, Bhairabkundu, Shalchaturi and Kabamari villages in Lalgarh, they said.

The elephants destroyed crops, vegetables and sugarcane plantations in the fields adjacent to the Kangsabati river, they added.

The herd also damaged four houses as a result of which a baby was injured, locals said.

Demanding that the administration chase away the herd immediately, locals on Sunday blocked the Midnapore-Jhargram state highway that goes via Dherua.

The villagers also demanded compensation for the damaged crops and houses in the area.

The road blockade was withdrawn after district authorities assured the people that they are looking into the matter, police said.

The wild elephants also destroyed a pipeline that is used for drawing water from the Kangsabati river for irrigating the fields.

The destruction of the pipeline can affect the cultivation of boro paddy in the entire area, locals claimed.

The herd is at present in the forest area near Lalgarh and efforts are on to chase the animals back, a spokesperson of the Forest Department said. PTI CORR SBN SOM SOM