2 jumbos electrocuted in Dhenkanal (India)


Riyan Ramanath V, Times of India

Date Published

BHUBANESWAR: Two elephants were electrocuted after coming in contact with a sagging live electric wire at Rundlei under Dhenkanal forest division late on Sunday. Villagers spotted the carcasess and informed forest personnel.

Two forest personnel were suspended soon after incident for dereliction of duty. They are forester Sudhakar Das and forest guard Bighneswar Biswal. The hanging wire touched the elephants entering the village from the nearby forest, official sources said.

Forest official said carcasses of a 15-year old adult and one-year old calf were found near a canal barely one km from National Highway-55. It was a 33-kv wire and the animals died on the spot.

“According to villagers, the incident took place around 1 am,” said regional chief conservator of forest (Angul) Anup Nayak, who visited the spot and recommended action against Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) and forest officials. The elephants are taking a different route to enter the villages to eat paddy because of construction work of Rengali dam, he added.

“We have filed cases against Cesu executive engineer, assistant engineer and a technician,” said divisional forest officer (Dhenkanal) Pradeep Kumar Sahu.

He said they sent the carcasses for post mortem. “We have also set up an inquiry committee to look into the negligence of the forest personnel, who have been suspended in this connection. The committee will find out whether forest personnel were carrying out patrolling in the corridors where elephants move and high tension wire are passing through,” said Sahu.

A villager, Dharanidhara Swain, said they saw the wire sparking at night but came to know about the animal deaths early in the morning.

In 2013, the state government had planned to put up more electricity poles to minimize distance between two poles to check sagging, but the plan is yet to be implemented.

According to official sources, seven elephants die every year by coming in touch with the sagging wires.