|Speeding drivers derail jumbo safety
MONDAY, 07 JANUARY 2013
The Pioneer, MOUSHUMI BASU | NEW DELHI
spree of killing of the national heritage animal, elephants, on railway
tracks continues unabated. A week ago, six jumbos were mowed down by a
speeding train in Odisha and four others met a similar fate in West
Bengal’s Buxa Tiger Reserve on Saturday night. The respective forest
departments and the railways have now indulged in blame game.
Director of Project Elephant, Environment Ministry, AM Singh, has
claimed that the accidents took place as in both the cases the trains
were moving at a high speed. The drivers obviously took no note of the
signages along the tracks stating that it was an elephant crossing zone.
a recent visit to Odisha, Singh gave four major suggestions to the
local forest and railway officials. These included lowering of speed,
clearing all vegetation around at least 30 metres of area on either
side of the track, installation of high beam lights near the signages
for better visibility, and mandatory hooting by trains crossing a
While four elephants were killed and two
calves seriously injured by the speeding Gauhati-bound Jhaja Express in
the Buxa Tiger Reserve on Saturday night, six elephants were mowed down
by the Superfast Coromandel Express in Odisha’s Ganjam district last
“In both the cases, the trains were passing at a speed of
about 110-120 km/hour,” said Singh. Talking to The Pioneer, he pointed
out that when signages had been put along the track, there was no
justification for drivers to cross the prescribed 50 kmph limit.
further pointed out that the vulnerable tracks across the 1,800-km
stretch of Chennai-Howrah route is less than 10 km in length, and
lowering the speed of the train can delay the train maximum by eight
The issue would be taken up at the Railway Ministry
level, informed Singh. He regretted that the decisions taken at
high-level meetings between the Environment Ministry and the Railway
Ministry in September 4, 2009, had not been followed.