Elephant driving squads escort students to exams
Students residing near the forest in Sonamukhi and taking the ongoing secondary examinations are being accompanied to examination centres by elephant driving squads following sighting of elephant herds in the area.

Range Officer, Sonamukhi, Subhas Sarkar told PTI that as part of a special drive, elephant driving squad or "hula party" was accompanying the students of 28-29 villages near Sonamukhi forest range of Bankura district who have to cross the forest area to reach their centres.

The arrangement, he said, was made during the ongoing class 10 examination conducted by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and would be made during the forthcoming Higher Secondary examination, if required.

He identified some of the villages as Bhola, Pathra, Piura and Cochhdighi.

DFO, Bankura (north division) Sudhir Chandra Das said patrolling was on and the elephant herd had been pushed back to the deep forest areas.

Meanwhile, a herd of 30 elephants was sighted at Mejia and Gangajalghati police station areas last night, Range Officer, Mejia Circle, Tarun Bandopadhyay said. Students appearing in West Bengal Board examination are advised to visit our web page on regular basis to get their exam results once the exams are over.

Man-elephant conflict is a problem in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapur districts of the state as elephant herds from Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary of neighbouring Jharkhand migrate to the areas resulting in depredation of crops and property as well as injury and loss of human lives.

Special teams, called ''Hula parties'' use crackers and other forms of noise to drive away the elephants from entering inhabited areas.

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