'Railways indifferent to animal deaths by trains'
Posted on: 02:05 AM IST Jan 09, 2013
New Delhi: Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Tuesday accused the Railway Ministry of remaining "indifferent" to the death of wild animals particularly elephants caused by speeding trains.
In a letter to Railway Minister Pawan Bansal, Natarajan said, "Despite repeated pleas, railway authorities remain indifferent to the death of wild animals particularly elephants caused by speeding trains. In this case all that is required is that the trains coming in that route should slow their speed for a stretch of track, amounting to 11 Km."
"I am unable to comprehend why officials of the Railway Board, do not take care to ensure that advisories already in place are followed, and if not for the sake of conservation, at least a modicum of compassion should ensure that these helpless wild elephants are not mowed down and killed by speeding trains," she said.
The letter has been written by the Environment Minister after six elephants were mowed down by Coromandel Express in Odisha's Ganjam district on December 30.
"In this case, railway personnel, as pointed out above, had already been warned well in advance regarding the movement of the elephant herds. Despite this, the driver continued to speed and killed the elephants," Natarajan said.
Seeking a meeting with Bansal, the Environment Minister informed Bansal that on January 5, three more elephants were killed by a speeding train in West Bengal for which a team of senior officials was deputed to visit the spot of the Odisha accident and submit a report.
"My officers also told me that they did not receive much cooperation from Railway officials on the spot," she said.