Plant sealed after its live wire kills elephant

Published: 15th April 2013 08:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2013 08:22 AM   |  A+A-


The Athagarh Wildlife Division on Sunday sealed Hardev Steel Factory, a sponge iron plant in the area, after a pregnant elephant was electrocuted on its premises.

About 40-year-old female elephant strayed from its herd and walked into the steel unit late on Saturday and came in contact with a live electricity line used by the plant officials. After receiving electric shock, the jumbo meandered off about 100 metres and collapsed. It was found dead by the locals in the morning.

Immediately after the news reached them, the wildlife division officials, led by DFO Arun Mishra, rushed to the spot and inspected the animal as well as the spot where the electrocution took place.

Following the investigation, a case was booked against Pankaj Kakkad, promoter of the steel unit, and electricity supply was snapped to the factory.

“We have booked a case against Kakkad under Wildlife Protection Act and are on the lookout for him,” Mishra said. During preliminary investigation, it was found that a team was working on a water source using a three-phase electricity line using a motor. After the day’s work, the motor was shut down and left on the spot but the power was not disconnected. The female elephant which had wandered off the herd was believed to have come in contact with the wires and got electrocuted.

“Unsafe use of electricity led to the incident which amounts to negligence on part of the steel unit management,” the DFO  said.

Since the factory is located in the elephant corridor and there is a water source nearby, elephants frequent the place.

After the matter came to light, the locals demanded that the jumbo will not be allowed to be buried unless the plant officials come to the spot but the forest officials explained that necessary action has already been initiated against them.

During post-mortem, a 20-month-old fully formed still foetus was found in the womb of the elephant.


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