Pipili: An operation has been launched by Forest personnel and police to drive the rogue elephant, which had crushed four persons to death and injured five others in Khurda and Puri districts on Sunday, back to the wild.
It was last spotted at the Ayurvedic garden in Ghatikia, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
According to forest officials, the tusker had sneaked into Delang area of Puri on Saturday night and damaged crops. Soon after it went on a rampage in the villages bordering Puri and Khurda forest division and fatally attacked 60-year-old Jugal Kishore Bhatt at his farm under Gopinathpur tehsil in Puri on Sunday morning. It then moved to Balipatna forest range in Khurda division and trampled Chaitanya Sahu (45) of Rajatei village and Makar Palei (65) of Matighar village to death.
Ajaya Kumar Naik of Jamalpur village in Pipili block of Puri district was also tossed by the tusker and he later succumbed to his injuries.
Three persons were injured in Puri and two in Khurda division after being attacked by the tusker.
One among them, Sk Ajub of Hasanpur area was shifted to Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar after his condition deteriorated, sources said.
The Forest Department has asked villagers to stay indoors. “Efforts are on to drive it away towards Chandaka,” said Khurda DFO Sudeep Nayak.
Meanwhile, the Puri administration has shut the Pipili bazaar to prevent further mishaps. Power supply to 17 villages under Balipatna forest range has also been snapped as a precautionary measure. Puri Collector Balwant Singh has appealed to Nimapada, Balanga and Pipili blocks not to tease the elephants. “Compensation to the families of the deceased and the injured will be paid as per the existing norms,” he added.