“They were camping on the bank of river Siwane in Pipcho panchayat of the Tatijharia police station,” said Ajit Kumar Sinha, DFO, Hazaribag East forest Division
He, however, added that though they have damaged several houses in Tati Jharia and Daroo blocks located on NH-100 on the Hazaribag- Dhanbad road, loss to property was far less compared to last year when the same herd had created havoc by killing about half a dozen villagers, vandalizing houses and eating up crops.
He said, “Keeping in mind the behaviour of the tuskers, we have shifted the strategy of containing their entry into the areas that have larger human population. We have directed the villagers to protect themselves by using the methods suggested by experts of the forest department like remaining alert during nights, using chilly powder and torches (mashal)for driving them away, etc.”
He added that it is true that the elephants have damaged wheat crops ready for harvesting, but there has been no loss to human life. Recalling how the elephants were driven away last year, he said “Experts were called from West Bengal, who had used force to drive them away. This in turn had made them all the more violent and vindictive.” He said same herd which entered Tati Jharia and Daroo through the dame route which they followed last here via Barkatha and Ichak also in Hazaribag District slowly proceeding towards Churchu on their way to Jhumra Pahar forest in Bokaro District.
He further informed when they were on patrolling duty due to polling in Hazaribag on the 17th of April all the 17 elephants remained stationed on the bank of river Siwane which still has sufficient food anand water for meeting their requirements which was witnessed by hundreds of polling parties on their way to Bishnugarh. However he said they have not caused any harm to polling parties who were proceeding through dense forests. Most interesting feature of their movement as soon as the polling and police patrolling ended the herd of elephant started leaving the area towards village Barwar yesterday. He said that he informed the villagers who lost their standing crops and properties due to damages caused by present herd elephants he will pay the compensations for losses of crops and properties. The Mukhiya of Barwar Dashrath Murmu and Lalita Devi , Pramukh of Daroo Block in a statement issued to the press have demanded payment of adequate compensation to the villagers and farmders from the forest department.