Speeding train mows down 4 elephants
Four elephants — two tuskers and two female pachyderms — were killed after being run over by a speeding goods train near a level crossing under Bagadihi Forest Range in Jharsuguda district in Odisha on Monday.
The tragedy struck when the speeding train barrelled into a herd of jumbos as they were crossing the railway tracks on the Howrah-Mumbai line in the protected stretch of forest near Teladihi in the wee hours of Monday, said Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) PK Dhal.
Train movements were affected as the carcasses were lying on the tracks for around four hours.
According to norms, locomotive drivers must limit the speed of trains to 30 kmph while passing through elephant corridors and constantly blow horns to alert the jumbos crossing railway tracks, said Bagdihi Forest Ranger Batakrushna Sethi. However, in this case the drivers blatantly flouted the rule, sources said.
Meanwhile, local residents blamed the South Eastern Railway (SER) and the Forest department for the incident. They questioned how the forest officials were not aware about the movements of the elephants and also how the Railway flouted the speed norms in the protected area.
The SER has grossly erred in not taking adequate measures to put up fencing on the vulnerable spots of the railway tracks, they alleged.
Elephants’ death on railway tracks is not new as many hundreds have been killed in the past one decade due to negligence of authorities.
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