Again, 5 elephants die after being hit by a train

Again, 5 elephants die after being hit by a train

GUWAHATI, Feb 11: In yet another tragic incident, five wild elephants were reportedly killed in Assam’s Nagaon district on Saturday (Feb 10) after being hit by a speeding train.

The accident took place at about 9.40 pm when the Guwahati-Silchar passenger train dashed against a herd of elephant at Km 167-7 between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan railway stations under Lumding Division of Northeast Frontier Railway. The impact was so intense that five elephants died on the spot and the engine of the train also derailed. However, no passenger was injured in the incident, said PJ Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer of NF Railway.

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 section was ultimately restored at 2.37 am (Feb 11) when the train left the site after the engine was re-railed.

Sharma said that the incident took place at a location where there was no notified elephant corridor. However based on inputs received from Forest department a speed restriction of 30kmph had been imposed and all trains were instructed to slow down while passing by issuing caution order to the loco pilots. While prima facie enquiry has released that the train was within its stipulated speed, a departmental enquiry has been ordered to find out details about adherence to protocols.

In December, five elephants, including a pregnant female were killed when the Guwahati-Naharlagun Donyi Polo Express hit a herd crossing tracks near Balipara in Sonitpur district.

There has been a manifold increase in the incidents of elephant crossings during the recent past and trains are constantly slowed down whenever any information of herd movement is shared with the Railway by the Forest department. It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of both the Forest and Railway departments that as many as 200 imminent dashing have been prevented this year alone.

To reduce such deaths, the Northeast Frontier Railway last year started experimenting by placing a device near railway tracks which amplifies buzz of bees, hoping that elephants, which are scared of the stinging insects, will stay away from the tracks when they hear the sound.

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