Speeding train mows down five wild jumbos in Assam

A woman offers flowers on the carcass of an elephant killed by a passenger train near a railway track in Thakur Kuchi village on the outskirts of Gauhati Assam last year

A passenger train collided with a herd of elephants crossing the tracks in India's north-east, an official said on Sunday (Feb 11), killing four of the endangered animals in the high-speed accident.

The incident took place at around 9:30 pm near Habaipur railway station, almost 180 km east from Guwahati.

Locals claim that the accident happened in an area that has already been identified as an elephant corridor, and they even waved and tried to stop the train driver. After hitting the elephants, the engine of the passenger train derailed. The impact was so intense that four elephants died on the spot while another is critically injured.

On November 19 previous year, two adult elephants were killed after being hit by speeding train near Thakurkuchi railway station located close to Guwahati. The department, along with North East Frontier Railways, has organised awareness camps for train drivers to tackle situations arising out of elephant movement near railway tracks. The section was restored after the engine was put back on track nearly five hours later.

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"Our people are trying their best to prevent elephant casualties, but the railways seem to be taking such incidents lightly".

Saturday's accident site falls under the Lanka forest range, the area's wildlife officials said.

The NF Railways, in a statement, said based on inputs received from the forest department a speed restriction of 30kmph had been imposed and all trains were instructed to slow down while passing by issuing caution order to the loco pilots.

It may be mentioned here that there has been a manifold increase in the incidents of elephant crossings during the recent past and trains are constantly slowed down whenever any information of herd movement is shared with the railway by the forest department.

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