Goods train mows downs 7 elephants

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by sandeepdg, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    JALPAIGURI: A goods train speeding at 70kmph through the Dooars, large tracts of which are a go-slow zone, ploughed into a herd of elephants on a clear, moonlit night, killing seven of them - the highest number of elephant deaths in a single railway accident in the country.

    What became immediately clear within hours of the Wednesday 11.30pm accident was that the driver seemed to have done nothing to prevent such a high casualty - three adult females, two young elephants, an adult tusker and a calf. The accident spot is in the middle of tea gardens and there are no tall trees to obstruct vision. That, along with the fact that the moon was out, would make it very difficult to not spot the animals trudging down the tracks, foresters said.

    The force of the impact, which took place 1.5km from Banerhat station in Jalpaiguri district, tossed five elephants off the tracks. The carcasses lay scattered in a 250-metre radius, with bones sticking out at grotesque angles and blood turning the tracks red. One of them had got entangled in the wheels, leaving the huge body broken and turning the flesh into a pulpy mass. For hours later, villagers could hear the death cries of the elephants.

    Two of the animals, grievously injured, managed to limp off the tracks. In the morning, they were found a few hundred metres away, shivering, as they fought the agony of slow death. Both died by the time they were taken to Gorumara National Park and the Khuttimari range for treatment.

    "This is murder and not an accident. Had the train maintained a controllable speed, the driver could have slammed the brakes after hitting the first elephant. Straightaway, six jumbos would have been saved. Strong steps should be taken against the driver and the railways," said Animesh Basu of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.

    The train, officials said, was travelling at 70kmph but the claim was disputed by some wildlife organizations, who said the speed was likely to be 90kmph if the damage was any indicator. The speed limit for trains in the Dooars' protected zones is between 20kmph and 40kmph. The accident spot, however, isn't in that zone.

    By the time five elephants had been cut down, an adult female turned around to charge the train, claimed forest officials. The driver panicked on seeing this, and instead of slamming on the brakes, revved the train. "The train hit the elephant at full impact, dragging it for nearly 300 metres. The body got so badly entangled in the wheels that the driver had to reverse to Banerhat station," said Subhas Chandra Ghosh, ranger, Binnaguri Wildlife Squad.

    Like in earlier such cases, the railways refused to take blame. On Thursday, a railway official gave a technical explanation. "The accident occurred between two tea gardens, which is not a protected zone. There are no forests in the vicinity. We are supposed to maintain a speed limit only in protected zones," the official said.

    The statement ignores the fact that elephants - unaware of administrative demarcations of forest and field - pass through the area regularly as they go from one forest tract to another. "In fact, there are two distinct elephant corridors in the zone. Only three months back, an elephant had been run over in a nearby garden. We had protested then as well, but the railways refused to learn a lesson," said Subhashish Ghosh, of the Dooars Nature Lovers' Association. The herd was crossing over to the Reti forest from the Moraghat jungle tract when the accident took place. The two forests are separated by two tea gardens - Moraghat and Binnaguri - and the NJP-Alipurduar tracks cut through the estates.

    "We have lodged an FIR against the railways with Banerhat police station and have also lodged a complaint with the Malbazar RPF and GRP," said Kalyan Das, DFO, Jalpaiguri. According to sources, WWF has decided to file a case in Supreme Court to stop train movement on the NJP-Alipurduar Junction route.

    Goods train mows downs 7 elephants - The Times of India
     
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  3. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    its a bad news........... RIP


    :special30:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  4. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Being an animal lover at heart, I was really saddened to hear the news of these poor pachyderms meeting such a tragic end. :emot101: I think its high time the railways looks at having an alternate railway line that completely bypasses the elephant corridor in Alipurduar-Jalpaiguri section !
     
  5. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Instead of 7 elephants, if it would have been 7 humans the matter would not be that worse. What can the engine driver do when in speed of 20km or 50 km, it aint a car that u slam the brakes and it stops. He slams breaks the train would have been derailed. If it was a passenger train would people would have demanded that he should have slammed the breaks.
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Very very sad news. I hope railways take more care about not hurting the gentle creatures in future. Using railway horn intermittently would be a good thing in addition to lower speed.
     
  7. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    There are special rules for Trains travelling through the Jungle lines. They are supposed to drive at a slow speed and more so at night when the visibility is very low. The train driver was in breach of all the standing rules.

    In another twist to the story the WB Govt. has filed an FIR against Indian Railways, apparently to counter Mamta's snub to CM Buddhadeb.
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    As much as I love elephants, I have to agree. A train takes a long time to stop. It was dark and dark gray elephants against a dark background will not be spotted so easily without the spotlight turned on. When doing over 50km it can take far more than a kilometre to stop a train. Some of the blame lies on the elephants themselves, get out of the way. They are not stupid like deer.
     

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