Three elephants died on Friday after being hit by a train in South-Eastern Railway's Bankura-Howrah section in West Bengal. Divisional Forest Officer, Panchet, Ayan Ghosh said two elephant calves and their mother were knocked down by the Kharagpur-Adra Passenger at around 7:30 PM.
The train moved on but the jumbos' mutilated carcasses spread across the tracks between Bisnupur in Bankura and Piyardoba in West Midnapore for over two hours disrupting train movement in the section, the DFO said.
The carcasses were removed from the tracks by the forest and rail personnel with the help of locals after which train movement was fully restored, he said. The pachyderm family was crossing the track, skirted by dense forest on both sides, when the mishap occurred, he said.
Meanwhile, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave has asked authorities to ascertain the exact reasons behind the accident and also directed state forest department to put in place appropriate measures for the conservation of elephants after discussing the issue with railways.
"The Minister has sought a detailed report on the train accident in Bishnupur area of West Bengal on Friday, in which three elephants were killed. Dave has asked all local authorities concerned to ascertain the exact reasons behind the train accident.
"The Environment Minister has also directed State Forest Department officials to discuss the issue with Railway authorities and put in place appropriate measures for the conservation of elephants," an official statement said.
The Ministry said that it has initiated steps to prepare a 'Regional Landscape Plan' for conservation of elephants in the East Central Elephant Landscape, comprising West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and other elephant areas.
The West Bengal forest department has also prepared a three-year action plan for controlling human-elephant conflict in South Bengal. The state forest department will send SMS alerts to railway authorities on the movement of elephants near railway tracks to prevent accidents, the statement said.
State forest department officials are scheduled to hold a meeting with railway authorities today, following yesterday's train accident in Bishnpur area of West Bengal. According to reports, the pachyderm family was crossing the track, skirted by dense forest on both sides, when the mishap occurred yesterday.
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