State forest department takes initiative to prevent elephants from straying
near ghats in Chhath Puja
November 19, 2023
The state forest department has taken the initiative to prevent elephants
from straying near the ghats of various rivers in Alipurduar district where
thousands of devotees will congregate for Chhath Puja on Sunday evening and
The district has at least 10 ghats adjacent to the Buxa Tiger Reserve in
Kalchini and Kumargram blocks.
Also, some other ghats in Dalsingpara and Hasimara are adjacent to the
Jaldapara National Park.
Parveen Kaswan, the deputy field director (west) of BTR, said: “There are
at least 10 Chhath Puja ghats in the banks of different rivers adjacent to
forests. Wild elephants often move through these areas. To avoid any
untoward incident on the festive days, special teams have been formed and
one such team has been posted in each ghat. They will have all necessary
materials to disperse the elephants.”
Chhath Puja committees, which ready the ghats for the worship, have been
provided with the contact numbers of forest officers.
“The forest teams would be there. Even so, in case any wild elephant is
sighted near any ghat, they can contact the officers for early
intervention,” a senior forester said.
Usually, elephants reach the rivers at night or early in the morning to
drink water. On Chhath, many devotees spend nights in tents and pandals at
the ghats and return home after performing the puja early in the morning.
“As the devotees will carry fruits and other food items for worship, there
is an added risk of elephants reaching the ghats for food. This is another
reason for making these safety arrangements,” added a forester.