Over 60 forest and police officials of Bhubaneswar had a tough time reining in a tusker on Wednesday after it strayed into the city walking around the Lingaraj temple before heading for habitations not very far from chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s house.

The tusker first spotted in Dhauli area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar around 12 on Tuesday night, strolled on the city roads before heading for Lingaraj Temple area. It later crossed Sundarpada railway tracks and moved towards Pokhariput passing by the habitations close to the CM’s house in Palaspalli area when it was tranquillised in Patrapada area.

“The elephant strayed into the city from Pipili via Uttara. As people were gathering in large numbers to see the elephant, we had to monitor its movement and warn people through loudspeakers against stepping out of their houses. We cannot deny the fact that elephants have started coming towards the city, but we can’t do anything,” said Ajit Kumar Satpathy, Bhubaneswar city divisional forest officer.

After tranquillising the tusker, forest officials released it in the Chandaka elephant sanctuary near Bhubaneswar.

The movement of the tusker inside Bhubaneswar comes nearly one and half months after an elephant crushed two elderly persons, including a woman, to death and injured two more in Cuttack town. In September, a herd of elephants entered Jagatpur area of Cuttack from Athagarh forests as they went on a rampage damaging vehicles and houses forcing forest officials to warn people against venturing onto NH 16. The district administration also shut down all educational institutions in the area.

In September last year, a herd of wild elephants wreaked havoc in Baripada town of Mayurbhanj district.

By Shadab

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