Kolkata, March 2: Mobile elephant squads that drive away marauding pachyderms have been deployed in south West Bengal to ensure safe passage for students appearing in the ongoing state board exams, an official said on Monday.
In Bankura district's north division, these mobile hoola parties keep tabs on the presence of elephants in proximity to the exam centres, on the days of the Madhyamik (state-board's secondary level) exams.
A hoola party consists of domesticated elephants, their riders, a couple of experts, who chase elephants back into the wild and prevent them from entering villages.
"In Sonamukhi range, the exam centre is around 7 kms far from the village. The mobile squad will take care of any disturbances arising due to herds during the exam days," Sudhir Chandra Das, Divisional Forest Officer, Bankura (north division), told IANS.
In other ranges, such as Beliatore, the squads will watch over the locations close to the exam centre. The initiative is being run in collaboration with the district administration.
Herds of elephants raiding crops is a common problem in the area.