Joint committee to probe jumbo deaths (Guwahati, India)


Naresh Mitra|, Times of India

Date Published


The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has formed a four-member joint committee with the forest department to probe the death of two elephants who were hit by a train on Tuesday.

NFR CPRO Pranav Jyoti Sharma said NFR general manager Chahatey Ram has ordered the formation of the committtee after discussing the matter with the minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain. “The committee will have a senior divisional mechanical engineer, a senior divisional engineer, a senior divisional safety officer of Lumding division and a representative of the Assam forest department as members,” Sharma said.

Gohain, describing the accident as ‘unfortunate’, has assured preventive steps will be taken to avoid such accidents in the future, Sharma said.

The mother elephant and her calf were knocked down by the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express between Dimapur in Nagaland and Khatkhati in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district. NFR said the accident took place about 4 km from Dimapur railway station, about 264 km from Guwahati, at around 12.25am on Tuesday. The elephants were trying to cross the tracks.

“Soon after the accident, the train was brought back to Dimapur and other trains in the section were stopped at different stations. The track was cleared at 4.25am on Tuesday and train movement resumed thereafter,” Sharma said.

He added that the train had not breached the permissible speed limit of 100 kmph.

“However, owing to the huge momentum of the moving train, it was not possible to stop the train even after sighting elephants on the track. Sudden application of brakes could have led to derailment, endangering the lives of passengers,” Sharma said.

The latest jumbo death in a train collision in the state took place after almost three years when an elephant was knocked down near Deepor Beel here in December 2013. In 2012, at least four elephants were run over by trains in different parts of Assam while in 2011, five elephants were killed by moving trains in different parts of Assam. Seven elephants were killed in a train collision in 2010 in the Karbi Anglong and Deepor Beel areas.

The 2010 report of the Elephant Task Force of the ministry of environment and forest said the country has lost 150 elephants to train hits since 1987, of which 36% of the cases were recorded in Assam, 26% in West Bengal, 14% in Uttarakhand, 10% in Jharkhand, 6% in Tamil Nadu, 3% in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, and 2% in Orissa.