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Opinion

Elephant dies after being hit by train in Odisha’s Sambalpur

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An adult tusk, wandering in search of food with a herd, was killed when it was hit by an express train in the Sambalpur district of Odisha early Monday. This is the second incident this month.

East Coast Railway officials said the Puri-Surat Express struck the tusk in the village of Bhabanipali between Hatibari and Maneswar train stations under the Sambalpur divide around 2 a.m. The collision derailed the engine. However, the passengers on board and the members of the railroad crew, including the locomotive pilots, were safe.

Sources said the train was moving at a speed of around 50 km / h when the accident occurred.

Sambalpur Division Railways Manager Pradeep Kumar said that after the accident, rail communication on the route was disrupted.

“An emergency train rushed to the scene and took all the cars of the Puri-Surat Express train to Hatibari station. At least two trains on that route stopped midway, ”he said.

Sambalpur Divisional Forestry Officer Sanjeet Kumar said the train appeared to be moving faster than recommended. “The railway authorities were warned about the movement of elephants. Signs mentioning elephant movement areas have also been posted near the train track. The accident is being investigated, ”he said.

On December 5, a 12-year-old tusk in the Sambalpur district died after being run over by an express train. In the last 10 years, 28 elephants have died in Odisha after being run over by trains.

Wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty said elephants continued to be killed on trains because the forest department did not resolve the responsibility.

“If a train hits an elephant at a speed of 50 km / h, there is no chance that the elephant will survive. Based on the initial assessment, it appears that the train conductor was violating speed protocol. The forest department should set accountability and recommend action against the wrong railroad officials. ”

Since April 1 of this year, 47 elephants have died in the state for reasons such as electrocution, poaching and after being run over by moving trains and trucks.

Similarly, 70 people have been killed in the human-elephant conflict, while 76 have been injured in 122 encounters. Wildlife activists fear that casualties may increase in the coming months as the rice harvest season has begun.

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