By N.K. Agarwal
RAMGARH: Tribals of Auradih village under Gola block of Ramgarh district, which has been listed as the one of the worst elephant-hit blocks in the state, have formed a team to chase away wild elephants. The team comprises 22 young tribal boys armed with traditional equipment to ward off elephants who stray into the village.
A herd of elephants not only polished off the crops, but also razed the mud houses of tribes in Gola block to the ground recently. With the efforts of the forest department to keep these pachyderms at bay not yielding the desired result, the tribals, who have a history of combating wild animals with traditional skills and tools, decided to form a team to curb the jumbo menace. This initiative was promoted by the forest department.
Vinod Murmu of Auradih, who is leading the team, said they were called to Dulmi block in Ramgarh where elephants went on the rampage destroying crops and houses and attacking farmers recently. "Our team chased away the herd from Dulmi block to the neighboring Ranchi forest along Silli, Angada and Ormanjhi blocks," he said, adding that during their last operation against the elephants, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of Ramgarh was also present.
"We do risk our lives as the animals may go wild and kill us. But we want to protect the villagers from their terror," said Laldhan Murmu, another member of team.
Meanwhile, DFO Ramgarh A K Singh, said the herd of elephants were camping in Dulmi block where villagers were having sleepless nights. "We called the team there and they successfully chased the animals to the other side of the hills. We pay Rs 12000 to the team for a one-night operation," Singh said, adding that the team formed by tribal youths is fast becoming popular and will also be called to other places in the state for chasing away elephants.