Speeding Train Kills 4 Elephants In Odisha
Four elephants were killed after they were hit by a speeding train in Jharsuguda district in Odisha. The train was crossing a forest range area on Monday which is a designated elephant corridor. Elephants were passing through the railway track on the Howrah-Mumbai line when they were hit by Bokaro Allepy Express. The carcasses of the elephants were lying on the track for four hours and the rail transportation through Howrah-Mumbai line was affected. Several trains were halted at Jharsuguda station.
Odisha: 4 elephants killed after being hit by a goods train near Telidihi Village in Jharsuguda. pic.twitter.com/1nyQ2fPJzB
— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2018
“The accident is believed to have occurred at around 3.30 a.m. and 4 a.m. when a herd of elephants was crossing the railway line near Bagdihi Railway Station,” Sushant Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer of Jharsuguda Territorial Division, said to The Hindu. “Although there was no elephant movement in the area for the past three to four months, the railway authorities were duly informed to reduce train speed in that section. Besides, they were also requested to follow guidelines including making continuous hooting along with the stretch,” he added.
Biswajit Mohanty, environmental activist and former member of National Board for wildlife, told The Hindu that the death of four elephants was a tragic incident. “While forest department appears to be not sincere in identifying sections in which elephant movements are frequent, trains continue to move fast through elephant corridors,” he said. He accused both forest and railway authorities on the issue.
According to the rules, drivers have to limit the speed of the trains to 30 km/ph while passing through elephant corridors. They should blow horns constantly to alert the animals crossing railway tracks.
Not the first time
Earlier in February this year, four elephants were killed in Assam after a speeding train hit them in Nagaon district. The elephants were hit by Guwahati-Silchar passenger train when it was crossing trough Hawaipur railway station.
Five elephants were killed after they were hit by a moving train in Odisha in December 2012. The incident was reported in the Rambha forest area.
Two weeks before the incident, a group of wildlife activists wrote to the Railway Minister to take action against such incidents, especially in areas with large elephant populations. They suggested measures such as building an underpass beneath the railway lines for the animals, and to instruct commuters not to throw food items out of windows. Following this incident, Mohanty, a wildlife expert urged for reducing speed limits in the areas with a large number of the elephant population. He said that the driver had not stopped even after hitting the elephants.
“The railways are under pressure to keep time routes. They say to slow down, it will eat into our timing and we’ll lose our revenue. We’ve been telling them that this is a very small price to pay to protect India’s wildlife,” he told The New York Times.