Keonjhar: After a lull of four months, the elephants have returned to Champua range in Keonjhar district triggering panic among the locals.
A herd of 22 elephants including seven babies were seen moving in Kalikaprasad village under Champua range in the district. Dozens of houses and crop fields have been damaged in the village. People have spent sleep-less night to guard their standing crops. The pachyderms also reportedly damaged some houses in Champua.
The animals were chased away from Odisha to neighbouring Jharkhand four months ago, said a forest official. They have returned now and have been on the rampage.
Meanwhile, the forest department officials are on the toes to drive them away.
Another herd camped in nearest Rajia forest was chased away to safe place. Hundreds of vehicles were found standing off the road when the herd was crossing the road.
Jumbos continue to travel in groups very close to human habitations in search of food, officials said.