A source said that among the equipment that will be found in each vehicle are tranquillizer guns, tranquillizing medicines, four flood lights placed outside the vehicle, a 2KV portable generator inside the vehicle, nets of various sizes and sling (in case an elephant needs to be pulled into a truck).
While each vehicle can accommodate 15 persons, the department has decided to assign 10 persons, including forest staff and doctors, for each such vehicle now. “As of now, three of the vehicles will be stationed at Midnapore and Jhargram while the other one will be kept at Bankura. But they will be stationed in such a manner that they can move fast in case of an emergency,” said a senior forest department official.
The move is aimed at checking man-elephant conflict in south Bengal, where 71 human and seven jumbo deaths were reported in 2015-16. The human-elephant conflict in this region has taken a turn for the worse in the last few years. Recently, chief minister Mamata Banerjee asked the department to make sure that no human lives are lost.
Over 2000 and 5000 hectares of jumbo habitat in Jharkhand and Odisharespectively are under miners’ control forcing the elephants to move towards locations unsuited for them. The Dalma elephants’ prolonged stay in south Bengal is a fallout of this.