Expert team from Jharkhand helps forest staff
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Rourkela, 8 July
The herd of wild elephants, which had strayed into Rourkela three days ago has been driven back into the jungle by Odisha forest personnel and an expert team from Jharkhand.
At around 3:30 am today, the operation was called off as the herd had entered the Chirubeda reserve forest, which is just adjacent to the Saranda forest.
Mr PK Dhal, Range Officer, Panposh forest range said, “The objective of the operation was achieved as the 11 elephants were driven into Chirubeda. The operation started at around six in the evening and ended at almost 4 a.m.” The elephants had climbed the Durgapur hill yesterday morning, when they trooped out of Rourkela. “We could have achieved our objective but due to the presence of the crowd on the path we were herding the elephants, they got distracted and took different paths,” said Mr Dhal. Yesterday evening when the operation resumed, the herd was first brought down, and suddenly, they entered the Kantajhar area, just behind NIT Rourkela. There the jumbos damaged two asbestos houses.
The villagers were evacuated and were taken into the campus of NIT Rourekla as a precautionary measure, said the forest officer. After that, the herd was guided on to a designated path but for some time they deviated and reached the outskirts of Diesel Colony, but got back on track. By 11 pm they reached the Kukuda Gate railway crossing. “Here, on our request train services on the root were stalled for 45 minutes and also power connection was also snapped for the elephants’ safety,” said Dhal.
The herd guided by experts were taken to Bansjore and then to Chirubeda forests.