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Food for a month finished in 45 minutes

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Jaigaon
  • Published 14.07.08
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Jaigaon, July 13: An eleph- ant raided a school last night and gobbled up 100kg of rice, 60kg of lentils, 40kg of salt and 10kg of potato.

What the animal had in 45 minutes from the school’s larder would have fed 250 children one meal every day for a month.

The tusker had sauntered into the primary school of the closed Bamundanga tea garden around 3am and smashed a wall to make it to the larder.

“The animal also smashed the 250 eggs stored there,” said Mongra Kawar, who stays in the garden, 80km from here.

The animal had been on the rampage since midnight. “First, it attacked two shops. We saw what was happening but did not dare to venture out in the dark,” Kawar said.

He was worried about what the children would eat now.

Smashed classroom walls greeted the children today.

“What will happen if the elephant attacks while we are in class?” asked Sumit Sahu, who is in Class I.

The school is open on Sundays. The weekly break is on Monday, when the haat (the village mart) is held.

Kawar said the elephant came from the adjacent Diana forest around midnight. Leaving a trail of destruction, it went away around 3.45am.

“The small patches where vegetables and corns are grown were completely destroyed,” said Kawar.

Although the garden is closed for nearly three years, 250 children attend the school mainly because of the promise of a good meal.

Headmaster Krishna Toppo could not say when the school could resume the midday meals. “It will be difficult to hold classes. The roof might collapse any moment. We have informed the higher authorities,” he said.