Jagjit draws Mamtas attention to jumbo deaths on rails

Mumbai: Noted ghazal singer Jagjit Singh has urged Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to take urgent steps to stop elephant deaths on rail tracks and said it is imperative that train speeds be drastically reduced to contain such incidents.

Singh, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Banerjee appealing to limit speed of trains running through elephant corridors and make use successfully tested speed-detection guns to monitor trains that run through forest areas.

"I was appalled when I learnt elephants are being hit and killed by trains on our railways. It is difficult to understand why elephants continue to die when there are ways to solve this problem. The speed limits must be significantly reduced in elephant corridors," he wrote in a letter to Banerjee.

Allowing trains to move upto 50 kph in north Bengal elephant corridors guarantees that more deaths will occur because even fastest elephants won`t stand a chance, he said.

Singh`s plea comes in wake of recent deaths of seven elephants, which were killed in West Bengal`s Jalpaiguri district, by a train that was travelling at an excessive speed of approximately 70 kilo metres per hour.

"A speed-detection device, which PETA has procured and demonstrated, offers an effective way to slow down trains.

Drivers going at dangerous speeds could be punished," he said.

According to data available with PETA, 150 elephants have been killed by trains since 1987.

"I am confident that you will take steps to address this situation without delay. I look forward to hearing that the process is underway," Singh concluded.