BHUBANESWAR: At least 11 elephants are killed in the State every year due to electrocution with nearly 60 per cent of cases in forest areas caused by dangling wires. As per the statistics of the Forest and Environment department, 119 jumbos were electrocuted in 11 years between 2009-10 and 2019-20 out of which 24 died in 2018-19 alone.
The State has already lost 732 elephants between 2009-10 and 2018-19. Data of the wildlife wing of the Forest and Environment department suggest that on an average, the State has been losing 73 elephants a year due to poaching, electrocution, train and road accidents besides diseases.
In the absence of an effective mechanism to curb inhuman killings of elephants, the State is gradually turning into a graveyard for the gentle giants.
Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh, in his reply to a queries of members on issues related to his department, has stated that the department has identified 6,355 spots in forest areas, mostly in the elephant corridors, where electrocution death is possible due to dangling wires.
However, the Government statistics reveal that such wires have not been fixed in more than 60 per cent areas till mid-October though power distribution companies had been asked to take corrective measures in this regard since last year.
The Minister, however, has replied that anti-depredation squad, elephant protection groups, para staff and patrolling vehicles have been provided to forest divisions to prevent unnatural elephant deaths.He also stated that action has been initiated against 148 persons including 11 forest department staff and four energy department officials for the electrocution deaths.
Arukh said steps are being taken to increase the height of overhead transmission lines of 11 KV and 33 KV to a height of 5.5 meters and 8 meters respectively as per provisions of the Indian Electricity Regulatory Act 1959.
- 119 jumbos electrocuted in 11 years
- 73 die per year due to poaching, electrocution, train and road accidents
- 148 persons face action for deaths
- 11 KV lines to be raised to 5.5 metre
- 33 KV lines to 8 metre