RAIPUR: The fate of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati may still hang in balance, but this Padmavati was pulled out of dire straits by the Chhattisgarh forest department officials.
The female elephant, which had fallen into a 20-feet dry pit and fractured her hind legs, was rescued in a nearly 42-hour operation at Surajpur in the Sarguja forest range about 330 km north of Raipur.
“The process of rescue was a daunting task since the elephant accidentally fell in the well and was lying immobile in a precarious condition. A group of around a dozen tuskers, of which the injured female was a part, used to return at night, hampering our operation. But we successfully managed to bring out the pachyderm to safety without tranquilizing it and shifted it to a rescue and rehabilitation centre,” K K Bisen, chief conservator of forest, Sarguja range, told The New Indian Express.
Two cranes and a JCB machine were pressed into service to carry out the rescue operation. Two veterinary doctors were present at the spot. First the pit was widened using the JCB machine to ensure enough flow of air to alleviate excessive humidity that might have posed a risk to the animal.
But with both its hind legs fractured, the elephant, weighing 2.5-3 tonne, couldn’t stand. The forest authorities then decided to tie broad leather straps around its body and lifted it out with the help of two cranes. The injured elephant was loaded on a truck and taken to the Ramkola rescue and rehabilitation centre 30 km away, where it has been kept under observation.
“We closely supervised the operation. The elephant now appears stable and has been put on a diet of green fodder and vegetables, which is a great relief for us,” district forest officer B K Singh (Surajpur division) said.