NF Railway imposes speed restriction to avoid elephant dashing

Guwahati, December 7: As the winter sets in herds of wild elephants roam around the state coming out of forest areas on search of food and ripe paddy.
As these long ranging animals sometimes expose themselves to danger of being hit by trains while crossing railway tracks, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has imposed temporary speed restrictions and caution order for its loco pilots that as and when intimation on elephant movement are received from on duty railway or forest officials, there should be prompt efforts to control the speed of trains.
Permanent speed restrictions are also imposed on notified elephant corridors in Assam as a large number of elephants have died in the state over the years on being hit by speeding trains on the track.
The preventive steps taken by the railway authority have already paid dividends much to the relief of wildlife staff in the state. On the night of December 5 last an imminent case of elephant dashing was prevented between Jugijan and Hojai stations of Lumding Division of the NFR. It was reported that a group of patrolmen from railway and forest department spotted a herd of about 73 elephants in the vicinity of railway track near km 141/7-6. At that time 15933 Down Dibrugarh – Amritsar Express was approaching that area. On duty railway and forest staff immediately informed and signalled the loco pilot D C Dutta and Assistant loco pilot, R Sharma of that train to stop the train. As a result the train could be controlled and the entire herd of about 73 elephant was allowed to cross over the railway track. After that the train started its journey again. Thus an imminent elephant dashing case could be avoided due to timely action and close coordination amongst forest and railway officials. The same herd again crossed over the railway track at about on the morning of 6th December 6.
The area falls under the jurisdiction of DFO Hojai. There have been similar cases in the recent past also where elephant dashing could be avoided upon receive of timely information.
(EoM)