DHENKANAL: Seven elephants were electrocuted after coming in contact with a live wire on the outskirts of Kamalanga village under Sadar Forest Range in Dhenkanal district late on Friday.
The incident came to light when villagers found the carcass of seven elephants in paddy fields and informed the forest officials. According to the villagers a herd of 13 elephants had entered human habitation last night. While passing through the village, seven of them came in contact with a live wire pulled at a height of about eight feet above the ground and died on the spot.
Sources said that construction of a railway over-bridge in the area was assigned to a private company which violated forest department guidelines and had pulled the electric wire at a height of eight feet from the ground.
Minister for forest and environment Bijoyshree Routray has blamed the energy department for the incident in which seven elephants were killed. He said that though these were brought to the notice of the Energy Department by Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs), no action was taken to correct the situation.
Issuing a press release, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Sandip Tripathy maintained that due to non-rectification of the sagging lines and non-cabling of transmission lines, the accident has occurred claiming the lives of the seven elephants.
Tripathy said in the coordination meeting between forest and energy departments on March 29, 2018, it was decided that the electric transmission line going through the elephant movement area should be invariably insulated in new cases and for older transmission lines, the replacement should be done in a phased manner.
He said that the DFO, Dhenkanal had submitted a report six months back saying that a stretch of 136.57 kilometers of LT lines passing through vulnerable area needs cabling. The issue was also raised at the coordination meeting held on September 24, 2018, he said and added that no corrective action has so far been taken.
Meanwhile, secretary in the Energy Department Hemant Sharma said that a three member team is probing into the incident. Action will be taken as per law after the inquiry is over, he said.