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Angry villagers block road as jumbos run amok

Raipur, June 28 (Calcutta Tube) Dozens of villagers Monday blocked a key road in Chhattisgarh after a herd of wild jumbos trampled a woman to death, officials said.

Dozens of male and female residents squatted on the Raigarh-Gharghoda road throughout Monday in Raigarh district after a group of wild elephants rampaged through a forested village, Amlidih, about 250 km from here, killing a woman and bringing down several houses, local forest official S.D. Sahu told IANS.

‘The elephants were chased away by forest officials from the civilian pockets with the help of local people. Now we are trying to persuade the protesters to lift the road blockade,’ he added.

Chhattisgarh’s vast northern region, comprising Surguja, Jashpur, Koria, Korba and Raigarh districts, has recorded a sharp rise in man-elephant conflicts in recent months.

The state government annually pays people living in villages that are surrounded by forests, millions of rupees in compensation for the loss of human lives and the massive damage caused to houses and crops by wild elephants.

The state government said it is trying to find a permanent solution to the decades-old man-elephant conflict and is willing to work on a proposal by NGO Earth Matters Foundation, which has suggested setting up ‘elephant villages’ to help keep wild jumbos away from areas inhabited by civilians.

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