15 jumbos electrocuted in state since ’09: Min

Bhubaneswar: As many as 15 elephants have died in state due to electrocution since 2009, informed Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Routray to assembly on Tuesday. In a reply to Keonjhar BJD MLA Subarna Nayak, the minister reasoned that the deaths were due to the low-hanging power lines inside the forests which come in contact with the pachyderms while they roam.

“Many a time electric poles installed at unsafe distances are found in the routes of these jumbos and make lives of these animals more vulnerable due to the exposure of live wires” said Routray.

According to the minister, to deal with the issue, the state government after it failed to get Central allocation of Rs 32 crore, was discussing with the electricity department.  “Since we need a considerable amount to spend on this, the state government is trying to find out a solution taking its own budget into consideration” added Routray.

But the minister’s answer could not satisfy legislator Pratp Sarangi who wanted to know the government’s steps in Nilagiri area of Balasore district where over hundred elephants from Jharkhand have been creating menace since past 15 days. An unimpressed Sarangi staged dharna inside well of the assembly. However Routray’s assurance brought him back later.