Elephant pays with life as faulty wire goes unattended in Odisha

The postmortem on the carcass was carried out in presence of the RCCF Rourkela, members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other concerned stakeholders.
Carcass of the tusker found in Keonjhar forest division on Sunday | Express
Carcass of the tusker found in Keonjhar forest division on Sunday | Express

BHUBANESWAR/KEONJHAR: Amid rising cases of elephant electrocution in the state, a jumbo was killed after coming in contact with the support wire of an 11kv pole in Keonjhar forest division on Sunday.

The elephant reportedly remained stuck to the charged line for nearly three hours. Forest officials who rushed to the spot for the investigation said the stay wire got charged due to damage to the insulator and the incident happened before it could be replaced.

RCCF Rourkela Arun Kumar Mishra who ordered an investigation into the incident after his field visit inquired about the matter from both Tata Power as well as the Keonjhar forest officials. Keonjhar DFO Dhamdhere Dhanraj Hanumant, who also rushed to the spot following the incident, said, the sub-adult elephant got electrocuted after it came in contact with the stay wire supporting the electric pole early in the morning.  

The forest officials came to know about the matter at around 6 am. Accordingly, the electricity department officials were also informed. However, the power supply to the stay wire continued for nearly three hours, he said. The DFO said though the power supply to the high-tension line should have been immediately snapped after the incident, it didn’t happen. “The matter will be taken up with officials of the energy and distribution company officials,” he said.

The postmortem on the carcass was carried out in presence of the RCCF Rourkela, members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other concerned stakeholders. Wildlife conservationists demanded immediate arrest of the electricity officials responsible for the negligence, while the DFO informed that they have launched a probe into the incident and the case has been registered under Wildlife Protection Act.

“We will investigate why the electric pole was not repaired or replaced and initiate action against those involved. Energy officials and distribution company authorities will also be asked to initiate appropriate action against those responsible for the lapses,” he said. Increasing incidents of elephant electrocution have become a cause of concern in the state. Statistics suggest that at least 77 elephants have died due to electrocution in the state in the five years between 2018-19 and 2022-23.

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