Assam: Speeding train hits elephants, kill 3 including 2 pregnant females (Guwahati, India)


Manoj Anand, The Asian Age

Date Published

Three elephants, including two pregnant females, were killed in Assam’s Nagaon district when a speeding train rammed into a herd of elephants on Monday.

The forest officials said the incident took place around 12 midnight when a herd of nearly 25 wild elephants from Karbi Anglong district was crossing the railway track near a railway bridge at Jogijan in Nagaon district.

The driver of the speeding Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek Express could not spot the elephants and ran over them.

“One of the elephants was a 4-year-old female, while 2 others were pregnant. One of them aborted a 2-month-old fetus after the accident and we found a 4-month-old fetus inside the other while conducting post mortem,” said local forest officer Shafiqur Rahman who arrived at the spot soon after the incident.

Locals, who witnessed the incident, alleged that the train was running at a very high speed even though the area has been notified as wild elephant corridor. The wild tuskers frequent the area in search of food.

However, the railways authorities said the place where the accident took place was not notified as elephant corridor so there was no speed restriction on trains passing through that section.

The forest officials said that a herd of nearly 60 wild elephant was roaming in the area for the past two weeks and frequenting paddy field and human habitations in search of food.

Forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma said that she has asked the forest officers to take up the issue with Northeast Frontier Railway to avoid such incidents in future.

The officials said that there were 27 identified elephant corridors falling under Northeast Frontier Railways, including two temporary ones. The loco-pilots have instruction to restrict speed to a maximum of 50 km/hour while crossing these corridors.

This was the second incident when a speeding train rammed into a herd of wild elephants. In September, two adult elephants were killed by the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express on the Assam-Nagaland border.