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Speeding train kills four wild elephants in Assam

11 February 2018, 11:16 | Taylor George

Speeding train kills four wild elephants in Assam

A woman offers flowers on the carcass of an elephant killed by a passenger train near a railway track in Thakur Kuchi village on the outskirts of Gauhati Assam last year

The accident took place when a herd of elephants was in the area, as the Guwahati-Silchar passenger train was crossing the Hawaipur Railway Station, said PJ Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer of the Northeast Frontier Railway. Five elephants have reportedly died as a result of the dashing.

The engine of the train got disconnected from the bogies due to the impact of the hit, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

The incident in an area known to be the elephant corridor.

"Our people are trying their best to prevent elephant casualties, but the railways seem to be taking such incidents lightly". This issue figured in the meeting between forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma and officials of NF Railway in Hojai on Sunday.

A railway line passes through 13% of the elephant corridors in the Northeast, primarily Assam.

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He said that the divisional Railway Manager along with senior officials of Lumding Division reached the site along with Accident Relief Train (ART) from Lumding after which efforts were started for re-railing the locomotive.

"The 19 locations were decided at a meeting in December 21 in Lumding", a forest official said. According to the NFR, incidents of elephant crossings have increased sharply in the recent past and trains have been slowed down whenever the Forest Department shared information on herd movement. NF Railway has to ensure the safety of all train movements and at the same time it is ready to do all the needful for mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks.

As per a 2011 census, there are 5,620 wild elephants in Assam, the highest in the country.

Deforestation and construction activity near their habitats force elephants to stray further afield for food, often bringing them into conflict with humans.

Elephant deaths, due to accidents, are on the rise in Assam; the state forest department data says 110 elephants died in 2016 and 118 in 2015.



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