Chhattisgarh families migrate after jumbos kill two

January 17th, 2009 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Jan 17 (IANS) Dozens of poverty-hit families of a forested Chhattisgarh village have migrated to safer areas after a herd of wild elephants killed two elderly women and demolished about 28 houses, forest officials said Saturday.The incident was reported from Argoti village of Surguja district, some 400 km from here.

Officials at the forest department said about 80 families have deserted their villages and moved to safer areas since Friday morning to avoid attacks by nine wild elephants.

The elephants killed two elderly women and brought down at least 28 mud-built houses in the village and its nearby localities since Thursday night.

“About 250 local people are terrorised due to rampant wild elephants, I have visited the area and advised people not to venture out at night and avoid lighting fire as it irritates the jumbos,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mahendra Singh told IANS by phone.

The villagers, who have held local forest officials responsible for “doing little” for them, have been repeatedly urging the officials to take measures to keep the elephants away from civilians’ pockets.

The angry villagers had held DFO Mahendra Singh and sub-divisional officer H.C. Srivastava to ransom for more than an hour Friday when they visited Argoti village to take stock of the situation.

The officers were released only after their assurance of taking urgent steps to save them from jumbos’ fury.

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