Developed By: iNFOTYKE
GUWAHATI: At least five wild elephants were killed after they were hit by a passenger train on the track between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan stations under Lumding Division of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) on Saturday night. The engine of the train too got derailed at the impact of the mishap though there was no casualty of passengers.
The incident has left Assam’s Forest Minister Promila Rani Brahma fuming and she has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the tragic incident to find the details of the circumstances leading to the death of animals. The minister suspected negligence on part of concerned railway staff that led to the tragedy.
The chief spokesman of the NFR, Pranab Jyoti Sharma informed that the engine number 20072 of train number 15611 (Guwahati – Silchar Fast passenger) dashed against a herd of elephant at km 167-7 between stations Hawaipur and Lamshakhan under Lumding Division of N F Railway resulting in death of five elephants.
The engine got derailed by its front trolley as a result of which the train with all passengers got detained at the location. 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 rerailing the locomotive. The section was ultimately restored at 02.37 am on Sunday when the train left the site after the engine was rerailed.
The railway official claimed that the incident had taken place at a location where there was no notified elephant corridor. However, based on inputs received from forest department a speed restriction of 30 kmph 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 revealed that the train was within its stipulated speed, a departmental enquiry has been ordered to find out details of apples and adherence to protocols.
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. However, the incidents have to be seen in the light of recent spurt of man – animal conflicts, the railway official said adding N F Railway has to ensure the safety of all train movements and at the same time it is ready to do all the needful for mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks.