Mamata absolves railways from elephant deaths

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the Forest Department for the mishaps, saying its employees were not alerting the train drivers on time.

Updated: Nov 16, 2010, 23:49 PM IST

Dankuni: Absolving the railways for the deaths of elephants on the tracks in north Bengal, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday blamed the Forest Department for the mishaps, saying its employees were not alerting the train drivers on time.
"It is the responsibility of the forest department to alert the train drivers if there are elephants crossing the tracks. But if they do not do it, what can be done? The fault is not with the railways," Banerjee said while inaugurating the work of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor here.

Without naming Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh who wants a 30 km speed limit along the 160 km stretch between Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri, she said, "I am a friend of the environment. But I cannot interfere in the Environment Ministry as it cannot interfere in mine. I know my boundary."

A middle-aged elephant was run over by a train at Dalgaon in the Buxa reserve forest of Jalpaiguri district yesterday.

On October 22, 7 elephants were mowed down by a goods train near Binnaguri in the district. Ramesh had visited the
site after the accident.

PTI