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Saswat Singhdeo

New Delhi: Expressing her ‘grief and horror’ at the elephant deaths in Odisha, Union Minister of Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take urgent measures to stop elephant deaths in Odisha.

“The recent electrocution of seven tuskers in Dhenkanal, which is the highest such death toll in a single incident, has caused furore throughout the nation about the reprehensible state of elephant protection in Odisha,” Maneka wrote.

“It comes at the back of dismal statistics wherein 124 or a whopping 28 per cent casualties have taken place due to accidents and electrocution. It is tragic to note that a dozen magnificent pachyderms are dying every year due to mismanagement and incoordination between government agencies,” Maneka added.

Citing reports, she alleged that distribution companies are being given a free hand in elephant corridors without necessary oversight.

In the letter, the Union Minister also mentioned that the National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine Rs 1 crore on CESU while a probe has been launched into the Dhenkanal incident.

Expressing her disappointment on the elephants' death, the Union Minister said that even after laying guidelines under the Shri A K Biswal committee by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the alarming trend of elephant deaths has continued unabated.

“I also urge you to take necessary action against the officials who failed to put the A K Biswal Committee recommendations into practice in the State,” Gandhi wrote.

Terming the elephants of Odisha as 'the pride of India', she wrote, “We owe a debt to our future generations for their welfare and safety.”

On October 22, seven elephants had died due to electrocution under Dhenkanal Sadar forest range. Similarly, on September 5, two elephants had died after being electrocuted in Jajpur district.


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