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Herd back at Dhanbad
- Forest officials on alert again

Dhanbad, Nov. 16: The unwanted guests are back at Purvi Tundi, thanks to its forests.

Much to the dismay of forest officials and villagers alike, the herd of 18 elephants, which arrived in Dhanbad block on November 9 and was driven away towards Jamtara on Sunday, returned to Karmatand today. The herd has already caused some damage to crops in the village.

Forest department officials, who heaved a sign of relief after the herd took leave, are also back with all their equipment to keep a close eye on the elephants. They said the pull of Tundi’s forests might have brought back the herd.

“All 45 torchmen, who were called from Dumka and Bankura in Bengal, have been pressed into service to keep away the herd from human settlements,” said divisional forest officer (DFO) Sanjeev Kumar. Besides, a vehicle is making regular rounds, pleading with the villagers not to disturb the herd.

“So far, the villagers are co-operating with us and helping us prepare strategies to drive away the herd,” said the DFO, adding that the herd would eventually return to its original habitat in Bengal.

“Our plan is not to merely drive away the elephants but also to ward off a possible human-animal conflict in Tundi as it is not the original habitat of elephants. Chances of conflict will increase if the herd stays put,” Kumar said.

He added that adequate compensation would be provided to families whose crops had been damaged after a survey.

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