By Akram Mohammed
The daily routine of taking Dasara elephants on a rehearsal in the Jamboo Savari route is a risky process.
Small nails, metal shards, bottle caps, hair pins and other metallic objects found on the road, pose a threat to these elephants. The pachyderms might accidentally step on these objects, hurting themselves in the process.
Forest department staff who accompany the elephants during the rehearsal check for the presence of such objects every day, to ensure the safety of the elephants.
Having learned of the dangers involved to the jumbos, two innovators from the city were inspired to develop a device that works like a vaccum cleaner. The department which is excited by the innovation, has asked the duo to incorporate a few changes to it, after having tested the same.
Sharing details with Deccan Herald, the innovators Vijay H N and Santosh, acknowledged that it wasn’t an “earth-shattering” innovation. The prototype of the metal detector includes an aluminium flat tube, inside which 14 pieces of permanent magnets are attached. Wheels have been fixed to the tube, while a rod strapped to it, is used to navigate it.
A person seated in a vehicle, manually operates the device by dragging it in front of the pachyderms, sweeping metal objects, if any, on the road.
Vijay and Santosh, both residents of Mysore Vijay, said that the inspiration for the device came following a news report which spoke about injuries caused to the elephants by the metal objects strewn on the road.
“Also, when we observed the rehearsals of Jamboo Savari, we saw a few people sweeping these metal objects manually. We thought of coming up with a device that would the reduce manual work and ensure 100 per cent safety to the elephants,” he said.
Santosh said that the department tested it on Friday, and that the results were encouraging. “The department staff has asked us to build a larger version of the device, where the tube is up to eight feet. We are working on the same now,” he said.
Deputy Conservator of Forests, V Karikalan said that often a handful of nails, bolts, pins and other sharp objects are found during the Jamboo Savari rehearsals.
“Even though elephants are careful and avoid stepping on these objects, there have been instances of them getting hurt. The device clears all metal objects ahead of their path,” he said.