A villager points to her damaged house in Tundi, Dhanbad, on Thursday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad, Jan. 2: A herd of 12 elephants, including two calves, wreaked havoc in Tundi, Dhanbad, yesterday night, damaging as many as nine houses and stored food grains. No one was injured in the elephant attack.
Sources said the herd, which arrived in Tundi — around 50kms from the district headquarters — entered Nemori village from Pirtand area around 10pm on Wednesday.
The elephants, which came from adjoining Giridih district, demolished houses of Mangal Murmu, Bahamuni Manjhiain, Sona Ram Soren, Vinod Soren, Sukhlal Soren, Budhan Soren, Chand Besra, Saheb Ram Besra and Puran Besra in the rampage that lasted for over four hours.
“We were terrorised last night when we heard the elephants’ trampling sound. We immediately came out of our houses and took shelter in a pucca house in the locality,” recalled Mangal Murmu, a villager.
Village pramukh Bhawani Devi said, “Fortunately, there were no crops lying in the field. Else damages would have been quite high.”
Later, the herd moved deep into Tundi forests.
Tundi forest ranger Rajendra Ram, who reached the village this morning, took stock of the situation and assessed damages caused by the elephants.
“We have pressed 25 local youths into service to drive away the animals,” he said.
Ram added that the forest department had also sought help from Bengal’s Bankura division but the expert team of foresters was currently in Chaibasa to deal with another herd of tuskers.
“As soon as the team returns from Chaibasa, it will be engaged in the drive to chase away the herd from human settlements in Tundi,” he said, adding the main objective was to avoid any man-elephant conflict to minimise damages.
On compensation for those whose house and food grains were damaged, the ranger said, the affected villagers’ would be asked to fill up application forms, which would then be forwarded to the forest department through the local mukhiya and panchayat samiti.
“We will disburse the compensation as soon as we receive funds,” he added.
On September 19 last year, a herd killed one Badki Devi in Chakamanpur village of Tundi.