ROURKELA: A Female elephant died after being hit by a goods train near Bimlagarh, about 70 km from here. While the incident occurred on Wednesday evening, the carcass was buried after autopsy on Thursday by the authorities of Rourkela Forest Division (RFD).
The accident took place at 6.35 pm, 3 km from Bimlagarh railway station under Banki forest range. Rourkela DFO Sanjeet Kumar, quoting railway authorities, said the train was moving at speed of 30-40 km/hour and despite application of emergency brake, the train moved about 95 metres ahead and hit the elephant, aged about seven years, killing it on the spot. He said the Assistant Conservator of Forest has been asked to inquire into the incident.
He said a coordination meeting of Forest department and South Eastern Railway (SER) would be held soon to review the standard protocol and prepare a roadmap to stop recurrence of similar incidents.
The DFO said that at present, three foresters ensure round the clock co-ordination with the railway control room at Bonamunda and caution is issued if an elephant is spotted within 3 km radius of the railway tracks. He said preventive measures include blowing of long siren and speed restriction to 20-30 km/hour at blind curves.
From Dalimdihi, a herd of 12 elephants split into two groups with one group moving towards Mohura and another towards Bimlagarh. While the rest of the elephants of the small herd crossed the tracks, the victim elephant was caught unawares by the approaching train.
Over the last nine months, at least two elephant calves and two sub-adult elephants had died accidentally in RFD limits, while the speeding Gitanjali Express had killed an adult tusker at Sunakhan near Rajgangpur on November 26, 2013.