BHUBANESWAR: Facing backlash over increasing elephants deaths due to train collision, Chief Wildlife Warden and PCCF (Wildlife) HS Upadhyay on Thursday wrote to the State government recommending disciplinary action against the Sambalpur Sadar forest range officer for dereliction of duty.
Wildlife officials said the recent elephant death due to train collision on Hatibari-Jujumara stretch on December 21 was the second such incident at the spot within a month and fourth elephant death in Sambalpur Sadar range this year.
The first elephant death on the stretch was reported on December 5. Besides, an elephant was found dead in the range with bullet marks on its body in March, while another elephant in the range died of electrocution in November. Five elephant deaths have been reported from the range since November 2019, said Sambalpur DFO Sanjeet Kumar.
Kumar on Thursday convened a coordination meeting with the forest and railway officials to prevent elephant deaths caused by trains. The DFO said a joint inspection team comprising an ACF, ranger and technical staff of railways has been formed to make spot visit and find out problems that can be immediately addressed to prevent the jumbo casualties.
It was also decided to clear weeds in five metre area on both sides of the railway tracks on the stretch to increase visibility and install at least 36 signboards at nine vulnerable points to alert loco pilots when they enter the caution area, he said.
The team will also visit the six spots identified for construction of underpasses to give safe passage to the gentle giants and other wild animals. “After the visit, the railway officials will prepare technical feasibility report and place the design before the Forest department for approval,” the DFO said.
Meanwhile, sources said the ECoR is planning to bring down the caution speed limit of 30-km further on the vulnerable stretch to avert such mishaps and check wildlife deaths.