Passenger train mows down five elephants in Hojai: who is to be blamed?

  • Passenger train mows down five elephants in Hojai: who is to be blamed?
12-02-2018 | Pratidin Bureau. |

Five elephants were mowed down by the 15611 Guwahati-Silchar Fast Passenger train in central Assam’s Hojai district on Saturday night. The engine of the train derailed due to the impact at 9.40 p.m. The section was restored after the engine was put back on track almost five hours later. Forest officials said the drivers of the passenger train ignored flashlight signals and ran into a herd of elephants crossing the track.

The officials also added that the spot between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan stations, around 180 km east of Guwahati, is a notified elephant corridor.

An officer of the Lumding Railway Division said “Five elephants, including three calves, reportedly died due to the impact. The loco pilots said the calves did not move from the track and the adult elephants began surrounding them when the accident happened,”

“Our people are trying their best to prevent elephant casualties, but the railways seem to be taking such incidents lightly. I cannot fault our department as the railways had been informed about the movement of elephants and forest guards had tried to warn the drivers with flashlights,” Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said on Sunday.

According to the Northeast Frontier Railway (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.

“It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of the forest and railway departments that 200 incidents have been prevented this year alone,” NFR spokesperson Pranav Jyoti Sharma said. He also added that the NFR is ardent on reducing elephant mortality on railway tracks but at the same time safety of train movements has to be ensured.

Tags : Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma Assam News Elephant Death

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