GUWAHATI: Three elephants were mowed down by an express train in central Assam’s Nagaon district in the wee hours of Monday.
According to forest officials, two of the elephants were pregnant and both delivered stillborn on impact. The two stillborn were found dead near the railway track. The incident occurred at an elephant corridor at Jogijan in the district.
The state’s Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said she had instructed her departmental officials to sit with the railway station masters to check the speed limit of trains at elephant corridors.
“I am saddened to learn about the tragic incident. On several occasions earlier, we had requested the railway authorities, both verbally and in writing, to check the speed limit of trains at elephant corridors. Today’s incident, possibly, occurred due to extreme foggy conditions,” she told Express.
The locals said a herd of the elephants had strayed into a human habitat on Sunday night for food and the mishap occurred when the jumbos were crossing the railway track.
“Elephants stray out of jungles, especially during winter, and damage crops. As such, we had informed the forest department officials of the menace but they did not take any measures to address the problem,” the locals alleged.
Deforestation vis-à-vis encroachment has shrunk Assam’s forest cover alarmingly. As a result, the elephants often stray into human habitats for food, destroy crops and trample people to death.