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5 elephants mowed down by train near Balipara

By Correspondent/Staff Reporter
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TEZPUR/GUWAHATI, Dec 10 - In a tragic incident five elephants were killed on the rail tracks off Bam Gaon tea estate under Chariduar police station near Balipara in Sonitpur district around 1:30 am today.

The dead included four females and a male, besides an unborn calf.

This comes close on the heels of the death of two elephants in a similar manner near Thakurkuchi rail station on the outskirts of Guwahati on November 18. The total number of train accident-induced elephant fatalities in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Zone so far in 2017 has gone up to ten.

The tragedy occurred when a group of seven wild elephants tried to cross the railway track in-between Rangapara station and Dhalaibeel of Biswanath district. The Guwahati-Naharlagun Intercity Express hit the elephants, killing five on the spot.

Chief Conservator of Forest, Northern Range, P Shiv Kumar told The Assam Tribune that the elephant herd was crossing the railway track from the Lokora side near the tea garden when the train hit them.

�Four female elephants and one male were found in the spot. We are trying to find out the two other elephants as they could also have been hurt by the train,� he said.

The elephants were cremated at a nearby location after their post-mortem was conducted by vets from Tezpur Dolabari wildlife division today.

The wild elephants were regularly frequenting the area after coming out from the Nameri National Park and scattered in various areas of the Chariduar circle since the last couple of days. The group comprising 70 numbers got strayed in the Lokora area near Chariduar reserve forest connecting the Nameri National Park.

Expressing shock and resentment, Dr Bibhab Talukdar of Aaranyak said that the spurt in elephant deaths this year � 40 elephant deaths in the past three months � posed a serious question over the future survival of elephants in the region.

�Elephants are dying from train hits,

poisoning, poaching and electrocution. It�s time the government took urgent measures to save this heritage animal. Train accident hits are utterly preventable if there is proper coordination between the forest and railway authorities,� he said.

Reacting to the incident, NFR Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Pranav Jyoti Sharma said that the incident happened at KM 135 between stations Balipara and Dhalaibeel. �The notified elephant corridors are at KM 131 and KM 144. So the dashing happened at a non- notified area,� he said.

He said that a group of about 30 elephants entered the railway track by breaking down the barrier at a level crossing. �By that time the train was already in the section and it was impossible to stop the train,� he said, adding that even though Whatsapp groups were in place there was no information about the movement of the elephant herd near the track.

After this incident, the Rangiya division has imposed a speed restriction of non-stop 30 kmph at the site of dashing at KM 135.

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5 elephants mowed down by train near Balipara

TEZPUR/GUWAHATI, Dec 10 - In a tragic incident five elephants were killed on the rail tracks off Bam Gaon tea estate under Chariduar police station near Balipara in Sonitpur district around 1:30 am today.

The dead included four females and a male, besides an unborn calf.

This comes close on the heels of the death of two elephants in a similar manner near Thakurkuchi rail station on the outskirts of Guwahati on November 18. The total number of train accident-induced elephant fatalities in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Zone so far in 2017 has gone up to ten.

The tragedy occurred when a group of seven wild elephants tried to cross the railway track in-between Rangapara station and Dhalaibeel of Biswanath district. The Guwahati-Naharlagun Intercity Express hit the elephants, killing five on the spot.

Chief Conservator of Forest, Northern Range, P Shiv Kumar told The Assam Tribune that the elephant herd was crossing the railway track from the Lokora side near the tea garden when the train hit them.

�Four female elephants and one male were found in the spot. We are trying to find out the two other elephants as they could also have been hurt by the train,� he said.

The elephants were cremated at a nearby location after their post-mortem was conducted by vets from Tezpur Dolabari wildlife division today.

The wild elephants were regularly frequenting the area after coming out from the Nameri National Park and scattered in various areas of the Chariduar circle since the last couple of days. The group comprising 70 numbers got strayed in the Lokora area near Chariduar reserve forest connecting the Nameri National Park.

Expressing shock and resentment, Dr Bibhab Talukdar of Aaranyak said that the spurt in elephant deaths this year � 40 elephant deaths in the past three months � posed a serious question over the future survival of elephants in the region.

�Elephants are dying from train hits,

poisoning, poaching and electrocution. It�s time the government took urgent measures to save this heritage animal. Train accident hits are utterly preventable if there is proper coordination between the forest and railway authorities,� he said.

Reacting to the incident, NFR Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Pranav Jyoti Sharma said that the incident happened at KM 135 between stations Balipara and Dhalaibeel. �The notified elephant corridors are at KM 131 and KM 144. So the dashing happened at a non- notified area,� he said.

He said that a group of about 30 elephants entered the railway track by breaking down the barrier at a level crossing. �By that time the train was already in the section and it was impossible to stop the train,� he said, adding that even though Whatsapp groups were in place there was no information about the movement of the elephant herd near the track.

After this incident, the Rangiya division has imposed a speed restriction of non-stop 30 kmph at the site of dashing at KM 135.