Train mows down five elephants in Assam

GUWAHATI: Five elephants were mowed down by a train at Lumding area of Hojai district, about 174 KM from here on Saturday night, a rerun of jumbo death on railway tracks that claimed 13 lives so far in four months.
The Guwahati-Silchar Fast passenger train knocked down a herd of elephants between Hawaipur and Lamshakan under Lumding division of N F Railway (NFR) around 10 PM on Saturday. The engine of the train got derailed, but no passenger was hurt.

NFR chief public relations officer, Pranav Jyoti Sharma said that the accident happened at a location where there was no notified elephant corridor.

“Based on inputs received from forest department a speed restriction of 30kmph had been imposed and all trains were instructed to slow down while passing by. Prima facie inquiry found the train was within its stipulated speed. A departmental inquiry has been ordered to find out whether all protocols were adhered,” Sharma said.

Forest department, however, said that the area where the five elephants were killed was among the notified corridors used by elephants.

A senior forest official said that according to the list of places used by elephants for crossing railway tracks under Nagaon South Forest Division, Hojai, provided to NFR in 2016, different spots along the Hawaipur-Lamshakan stretch of railway tracks were notified.

Both forest department and NFR conceded that because of “close” coordination between officials from two sides many imminent mishaps were averted.

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