Bankura/Midnapore: Not the fear of exam terrified students here but the fresh pugmarks of big cat triggered panic among Madhyamik examinees, a day before the exams at Pithabakra village in Bankura’s Simlapal police station area early on Sunday morning. Just about 14km away, at Kadra forest in West Midnapore, a man was injured by a tiger in the afternoon. The spot is barely 10 kilometres from Goaltore town. Victim Joyram Soren (47) is aresident of Kushkathi village.
After pugmarks were spotted at Pithabakra on the border of Bankura-West Midnapore, tiger scare gripped several villages under Simlapal, Sarenga and Barikul police station areas of Bankura.
The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education asked the district administration for adequate security. WBBSE president Kalyanmoy Ganguly said: “We’ve sent an alert to the administration, requesting them to arrange for adequate cover for the examinees.” Bankura DM Moumita Basu Godala said they would keep a patrol van ready for students’ safety.
Divisional forest officer (Bankura south) Mahimaprasad Pradhan confirmed the pugmarks were of a tiger and they have brought a drone to locate the big cat.
According to a source, 1,200 Madhyamik aspirants will head to their centres at Dubrajpur High School and Bikrampur High School in the area to take the exam on Monday. A villager said these examinees will have to take the Bikrampur Road to reach their respective centres and the pugmarks were spotted barely three kilometres from here.
Sadhan Ray, whose daughter is a student of Dubrajpur High School and is taking the exam at a nearby centre, said his daughter would take the same road to reach her centre. “We’re very scared,” he said. “My son, a Madhyamik examinee from Bikrampur High School, is also scared to leave home on Monday,” said Pithabakra resident Chinmay Singha Mahapatra.
At Goaltore, Soren had ventured into the forest of Kadra with 15 others for allegedly hunting birds despite warnings from foresters. “Around 4.30pm the tiger pounced on my left hand.
When my friends shouted, the big cat panicked and left the spot,” he said. He was later taken to a local hospital for treatment. A local source said that a van puller had also seen the tiger at Jirapara village around 7am. The big cat was also reportedly spotted near the ITI college at Gangduari in the same area.
State’s chief wildlife warden Ravi Kant Sinha said: “We’ve learnt that a villager was injured by a tiger. We’ve sent our tranquillising team to the spot after the pugmarks were spotted. A trap cage had earlier been shifted to the location, another from Lalgarh will soon be placed there.”