Odishatv Bureau

Kendrapara: To confer recognition to a six-year-old girl who displayed exemplary courage to save her playful mate from claws of death following attack by a furious estuarine crocodile, the administration of coastal Kendrapara district has decided to recommend the ‘tiny-rescuer’ for national bravery award.

As the tale of bravery unfolds, Basanti Dalai (6), a Class I student of a government-run primary school in Bankuala village under Rajnagar tehsil, had a new lease of life during afternoon hours of Tuesday as her playful mate Tiki Dalai (6) saved her from claws of a crocodile which had sneaked into the village pond.

Tiki reacting on the spur of moment had picked up a bamboo stick and had dealt a blow on the reptile’s head which had clung onto Basanti's legs while they were having a bath. Perturbed by the jolt the animal left the girl and slipped into the water.

“The show of courage by little girl deeply moved me after I went through the media reports today. I cut short the official schedule and met both the girls. I talked to Tiki, whose heroic act has drawn statewide appreciation”, said Kendrapara Collector, Muralidhar Mallick.

Tiki’s feat is a fit case that merits consideration for national bravery award. The administration will write to the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) for national bravery award recognition to the Kendrapara girl that is given away to 25 children every year in the age group of 6-18 years for exceptional bravery, Collector Mallick said.

“I feel proud for what my daughter has done. She has saved life of her friend. She was named Tiki literally meaning tiny or small. But act of bravery has made her great”, said Abhaya Dalai, a daily wage-earner, in emotion-jerked voice.

Meanwhile the croc which had strayed into village pond was captured by wildlife officials of Bhitarkanika national park in a relief to the residents of Bankuala village.

The 5.2 foot long juvenile estuarine crocodile was captured by spreading fishing nets. The crocodile has been a captive pen inside the national park. It will later be released in the wild.

The state forest department has borne the cost of treatment of the injured girl and compensation sum will also be disbursed the injured girl’s family as per the government rules framed for wildlife attack on humans, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.