WILDLIFE TRAGEDY: 2 jumbos die on tracks in 48 hours

WILDLIFE TRAGEDY: 2 jumbos die on tracks in 48 hours – yet again, no concern or caution yet on speed limits ?!!

The elephant calf that was run over by the train on Thursday. (Photo by Anirban Choudhury)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Alipurduar, June 3: An elephant was mowed down by a speeding train early this morning while the animal was crossing the tracks near the Kalchini station inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve area.

This is the second incident in the past 48 hours when an elephant has been fatally hit by a moving train in the Dooars.

The special train was carrying BSF personnel from Kashmir to Guwahati.

The dead elephant, aged between five and seven years, was part of a five-six member herd that was crossing the tracks near Gangutia forests and was moving towards Nimati through Rajabhat Tea Estate.

The speeding train had dragged away the animal for 450 metres before it halted.

Following the accident, train services between Alipurduar Junction and Siliguri Junction was disrupted for more than five hours.

R. Jakhar, the deputy field director of the BTR (west), said: “This is the fourth elephant that was killed by a train in the last three years between Rajabhatkhawa and Kalchini.”

Elephant run over earlier on Tuesday (File Photo)

On Tuesday, a 15-year-old female elephant was mowed down by the Alipurduar-bound Intercity Express near Red Bank Tea Estate.

Annoyed over the frequent animal deaths on the tracks in the Dooars, wildlife NGOs in north Bengal have sought the intervention of the railway minister.

“We had repeatedly requested the railway authorities and the forest minister to take steps to stop the killing of wild animals on the tracks. However, it seems nothing has been done,” said Animesh Bose, the programme coordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation (Hnaf), today.

Hnaf members today requested Gautam Deb, the chairperson of the north Bengal core committee of the Trinamul Congress, to approach the railway minister to look into the matter.

Ananta Roy, the state forest minister, said: “We have instructed our officials to file police complaints against the railway authorities whenever such incidents are reported.”

Today, around 7am, the body of the animal was taken to Nimati forest for post-mortem.

According to Jakhar, an FIR has been lodged against the driver of the train.

S. Singh, the divisional railway manager of Alipurduar, said: “ Our drivers always follow restrictions in specified places. The incident was very unfortunate.”

MEANWHILE

HOMELAND SECURITY: Night train ban till June 7

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Calcutta, June 3: The suspension of night trains will continue till June 7 and probably beyond, the South Eastern Railway has said.

The railways had earlier decided to suspend till today the movement of passenger trains on the Maoist-affected Kharagpur-Rourkela and Kharagpur-Adra sections and the bordering areas of Jharkhand and Orissa at night.

The decision was taken after the Jnaneswari Express was sabotaged on Friday.

The state intelligence branch has issued an alert to the railways on the possibility of further Maoist attacks on trains plying on these routes.

The intelligence officials have informed the railways that the Maoists have stocked arms and ammunition for this purpose. “The intelligence department has informed us that because of heightened operations against the Maoists, they could strike back by attacking trains,” a senior railway official said.

“The Railway Board has reviewed the security in these areas and directed us not to operate passenger trains at night till June 7,” a South Eastern Railway official said. Passenger trains have not been plying on these routes from 10pm to 5am since May 28.

A number of trains from Howrah to western India are running on changed timings. The Jnaneswari Express now leaves Howrah at 4.30am instead of 10.55pm. The Howrah-Mumbai Mail via Nagpur has been leaving Howrah at 5am instead of 8.15pm.

The Howrah-Adra Chakradharpur Passenger, Howrah-Adra-Bokaro Passenger and the Kharagpur-Tata Passenger will remain cancelled till June 7, railway officials said.

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