DAMAK, Jan 22: Since the last few weeks, Nabin Baral, chief of ward no 3 of Damak Municipality, Jhapa, comes out of his home holding a blazing torch. His neighbors, on the other hand, are found beating plates, blowing conch shells and lighting firecrackers. It has been more than a month since the locals here have been gathering in a particular place and adopting various antics to chase away elephants. Sometimes, the District Forest Office, Damak, sends a siren installed vehicle to help minimize the threat of elephants.
Elephants have been terrorizing the locals of ward no 2 and 3 since the last few months. Chairperson Baral informed that a herd of elephants has entered their villages from India. These wild tuskers have thrown their normal life out of gear especially after 7 pm. In last 22 days, elephants have destroyed 27 houses and ruined the fields of numerous farmers of both the wards. According to Baral, locals are facing a great torture due to the wild elephants.
In lack of effective measures, locals have been obliged to stay awake all night for protecting their lives and properties. On Friday, an elephant damaged the house of Shukraraj Jabegu of Damak-2. Not just that, elephant also ruined his mustard and potato fields causing him a great loss.
"We were sleeping when we felt the shake on the northern side of the house," said Jabegu, adding," It was an elephant. Fortunately, we somehow managed to save ourselves."
Later, the locals gathered around his house chased away the elephants. On Thursday, an elephant smashed the wall of Surendra Dulal of Damak-2. His whole family had to beat plates and utensils to chase away the elephant.
Blowing conch shells in the evening has been a regular routine for the locals here. However, this is not the first time elephant rampage has taken a toll on the lives of locals of Damak-3. But it is the first time that they have caused so much loss and damage in Damak-2. Som Dhungana, secretary at the DFO, informed that elephants spend their days in the community forests and head toward the human settlements at night in search of food.
Ward chief Baral laments that there has been no help from the government to reduce the threat of elephants. Though the ward office had pleaded to the armed police for controlling the tuskers, security personnel complain that they do not have enough resources.
Some of the victims have already been provided relief while some are yet to get. "We are just provided with Rs 10,000 to 15,000 but that won't cover our loss," said Baral.