Elephants continue to be killed by speeding trains in Bengal
Kolkata: Elephants continue to be killed by speeding trains in the 760 km Buxa Reserved Forest in north Bengal while the forest authorities and the Railways blame each other for the accidents.
The Buxa forest in Jalpaiguri district has the highest density of elephants in the region and the railway tracks cut through the elephant corridor that runs through the forest endangering the lives of the unsuspecting pachyderms.
Just a month ago, three full-grown elephants were killed and a calf was seriously injured when they were hit by a speeding train. The calf later died of injuries.
The deaths brought back memories of the horrific accident in 2010 in which seven elephants were mowed down by a train running at full speed in the same area.
Forest Minister Hiten Burman had last year stated that out of the state's population of 652 elephants, Buxa alone had 529 and the rest were in south Bengal districts.
Burman told the Assembly that out of 63 elephant deaths between January, 2010 and January,2012, 49 took place in north Bengal, out of which 27 were natural deaths and the, rest being accidental.
According to NGO 'Elephant Family', at least 24 elephants lost their lives in this killing field in the past five years.
Field director of Buxa Tiger Reserve RP Saini told a news agency, "During our meetings with railway officials, we had repeatedly requested them to bring down the speed of trains from 80-90 kmph to 25 kmph so that the driver can stop the train in time after sighting elephants. But the pleas fell on deaf ears."