Dil Maya Majhi's house that was partly destroyed by elephants on Monday. Photo: Tanka Chhetri/Republica
SARLAHI, Jan 16: Dil Maya Majhi of Ranjitpur village has not slept well for the last few days. Elephant terror has taken away the peace of mind of this mother of three. On Monday, elephants partially destroyed her house and the foodgrain.
"The elephants have left us helpless. We don't know what to do. We have been rendered homeless," lamented Majhi. "I have three children, where would I take them to? They are not safe here."
Elephant terror is not a new thing for the locals of Sarlahi. However, in lack of measures to combat the menace, people have been forced to suffer every year.
"Even last year and the year before last year, elephants killed and injured people, and destroyed property. This time they have done the same," reported Majhi.
Majhi and her children were sleeping at home when elephants stormed in on Monday night and destroyed her house. As soon as she sensed something was wrong, she woke up the kids and the family rushed to the neighbor's house. "We had a narrow escape, anything could have happened."
In the last few weeks, elephants have rendered many people in the village homeless. Even though locals have been patrolling the area at night regularly, the beasts have not stopped coming.
"Elephants come to our settlements in broad daylight, let alone night," said Majhi. "Our crops that would suffice for a few months have all been destroyed, now we are left at high and dry," she added. Locals stated that the wild elephants have been destroying at least a dozen houses every day. Similarly, the pachyderms have destroyed sugarcane, potato and wheat crops.
According to Madhav Prasad Dev, Chief of Forest Division Office, Sarlahi, the elephants have not killed anyone this year. He said his office will soon take measures to chase the elephants away from the human settlements.
"Taking those elephants in control is very challenging. We have been trying to chase them away," he said.
Meanwhile, Sarlahi CDO Dron Pokharel stated that he has gotten tired of talking to several government departments regarding the issue. "This problem cannot be solved until and unless the forest department, national park and local bodies take due responsibility and take right measures," he said. "We have to provide them a corridor to move to other safer zones, or else they'd keep coming to human settlements," he added.