Published: 08th December 2018
Karnataka forest guards ferry students to school as elephant rampage rock villages
The parents of students from remote villages, reportedly, have refused to send their children to nearby schools fearing elephant attacks
Finally, the forest department seems to have considered the man and animal conflict seriously. The forest officials have come up with a new system of pick up and drop service for school children in the elephant-attack prone pockets of Alur and Aakleshpur taluks in Hassan district in Karnataka.
The decision was taken by the forest officials following demands by the students, villagers and farmers who had staged indefinite sit-in protests against the elephant-menace in Ballupet of Sakleshpur for a week. It may be recalled that the parents of students from remote villages, reportedly, have refused to send their children to nearby schools fearing elephant attacks. The department has introduced two vehicles initially and has promised to increase the number if the strength of the students increased.
There is no KSRTC bus facility available for the people of the remote villages and hill stations of the taluk. The department is using the rapid action vehicles and two-wheelers to drop off and pick up the students. The guards have also been directed to pick up and drop the students living in isolated places. The vehicles pick up the students from a particular point at 8 am and drop them back at 5 pm.
According to forest officials, Chinnahalli, Nidanuru, Rajendrapura, Abbana, Chikkanayakanahalli, Hodenuru, Banavase and adjacent villages in the Sakleshpur taluk, and Hemmige, Kadluru, Henchuru and Magge in the Alur taluk are considered as worst-hit villages — a herd of 25 elephants in three groups have been roaming in and around human habitats creating panic among the villagers.
Surprisingly, the tuskers have often been sighted in the villages during the day. The people are anxious as the herd has entered Chinnahalli village of Sakleshpur taluk in broad daylight on December 5. They are not coming out of their residence as they suspect the elephants are still in the area.
Deputy Conservator of the Forest Department, Sivaram Babu, said that the department has introduced this concept in the interest of the students and parents. The number of vehicles will be increased in both taluks based on the strength of students. He is said he is happy that a system like this has been initiated and that it should continue till the department finds a permanent solution.