The elephant herd in Paharpur village, Dhanbad, on Thursday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad, Dec. 16: The herd of 18 elephants that left for Giridih on November 18 returned to Dhanbad yesterday evening and damaged six houses in different villages.
However, no one was injured in the incidents.
The herd, which had merely damaged crops during its initial visit on November 9, went on the rampage in Titiachapuri, Chainpur, Dhoatand and Kanchanpura villages of Govindpur block yesterday.
Today, the elephants headed for Paharpur and Rampur villages and destroyed paddy crops.
Meanwhile, a team of forest department officials including over 35 helpers from Bankura is keeping a close watch on the movement of the herd to prevent its movement towards GT Road.
The officials have also distributed kerosene and tyres among the villagers to scare the herd away at night.
“We are taking every precaution to avoid a man-animal conflict in the area, as the herd is on its way back to Jamtara from where it had come to Dhanbad last month,” said Dhanbad divisional forest officer Sanjeev Kumar, adding that the people were co-operating with the forest officials.
The DFO pointed out that the herd had also damaged bamboo crops in Paharpur, and added that the department had already taken steps to provide compensation to the affected, including the ones whose houses were damaged.
On the movement of the herd to Dhanbad, Kumar said a new migration route of elephants from Bengal to Giridih via Jamtara and Dhanbad had been witnessed in the last five to six years. “The elephants come here almost every year and return after staying for a few days,” he said.
He added that the officials had requested the people to not keep liquor in their houses, as elephants were attracted to beverages.
“We are requesting the people to not disturb the herd, as elephants usually take rest during the day and move at night,” said the DFO.