The State Forest Department has set up “elephant driving teams” to help Madhyamik examinees pass through the areas where elephant attacks on humans were rampant.
A large number of students need to pass through roads those run close to forests and attack by elephants on such routes is almost a daily routine.
Places in districts including Bankura, Burdwan, West Midnapore, Siliguri and Jalpaiguri have been identified where the attacks were rampant.
In each team, there will be around eight officials of forest department. The officials are carrying usual weapons that they use to drive away elephants without causing any harm.
Three teams have been deployed in each of the districts to drive away elephants. The officials will be patrolling the routes through which the Madhyamik examinees will be passing to reach their examination centres and they will take necessary steps if they find elephants approaching the route.
The officials of the specially formed teams will be on duty from 10 am in the morning and they will continue patrolling till 5 pm. According to an official of the state forest department, every day the examinations starts from 12 noon and the examinees reach the centres at around 11.30 am. Again in the evening, almost all students reach home by 4.30 pm after their examination. “So we have decided to deploy the elephant driving teams from 10 am to 5 pm. The teams will be on duty till the end of the Madhyamik examinations. Similar task will be carried out during the Higher Secondary examinations as well, the official said.
He said that Madhyamik is the first board examination for school students and they might get distracted if they face any untoward incident on their way to examination centres. “Moreover, the situation may turn worse if an elephant attack a student when he or she is going to appear for board examination,” the official said, adding that steps were taken to deploy the special teams to drive away the elephants.
It may be mentioned that two persons were killed after they were attacked by elephants in Bankura. Sudenshna Bauri, a Madhyamik examinee who needs to pass such an area in Bankura, said: “The step by the forest department makes us feel secure and safe. Attacks by elephants are apprehended more in evening when we return from examination centres.”