The boundary wall of the hospital in Odisha’s Khurda district that was demolished by a herd of elephants.(HT PHOTO)
The boundary wall of the hospital in Odisha’s Khurda district that was demolished by a herd of elephants.(HT PHOTO)

Elephant herd demolishes hospital wall in Odisha’s Khurda district

Odisha Forest Department officials used firecrackers to drive away the elephant herd.
By Debabrata Mohanty | Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON NOV 25, 2020 03:43 PM IST

Hundreds of patients in the a district headquarters hospital of Khurda district of Odisha suffered panic attacks last Tuesday after a herd of 18 wild elephants strayed into the hospital compound after breaking its wall, officials said.

Officials said the herd from nearby Chandaka elephant sanctuary had bulldozed into the hospital compound by breaking the boundary wall. Though they did not enter the hospital building, several patients in the hospital panicked.

Khurda district’s chief medical officer Biswa Ranjan Pati said the herd had come late in the night and demolished a part of the wall. “Earlier another herd had damaged also the wall. But are relieved that this herd did not enter the building,” he said.

A team of 20 forest officials of Khurda division arrived at the spot to drive away the elephants using firecrackers. But instead of heading for the forest, the elephants settled in a cashew orchard.

A forest official said they would try to drive away the elephants only after the evening.

A team of officials of the Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha is also keeping an eye on the movement of the elephants because high tension electric lines near the hospital.

Earlier on October 4, two elephants from a herd of around 20-25 elephants had entered the hospital compound by breaking down a portion of the boundary wall.

With paddy crops ready for harvest, elephants are now roaming human habitations in search of food. On the night of November 20, a herd of 24 elephants had strayed into four villages of Khurda district going on rampage and damaging hundreds of acres of paddy crop.

On November 22, a herd of 30 elephants wreaked havoc in Tildega area under Ujjwalapur range in Balisankara block of Sundargarh district damaging acres of paddy crop. Two persons were trampled to death in Sundargarh district last week.

Last month, the Odisha government formed a task force headed by its chief wildlife warden to prepare a three-year master plan for reduction of man-animal conflict. The master plan to be submitted by the end of this month would suggest different activities that the department needs to do in the next three years for reducing the man-animal conflict. The long-term plan would help the forest department respond in a proper fashion instead of a knee-jerk reaction every time such a conflict occurs.

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