Electrocution of elephants: Odisha asks discoms to pull the plug

Bhubaneswar: At a time when rising number of elephant deaths due to electrocution in several parts of the state has triggered outrage with the Centre even flagging concerns over the matter, the State government today ordered the discoms (power distribution companies) to disconnect power supply during movement of elephants in designated corridors.

Citing that the recent surge in elephant deaths due to electrocution is a matter of great concern, the Energy department of the State directed the CESU, NESCO, WESCO, SOUTHCO to disconnect power supply in elephant corridors as well as movement areas on getting credible information from the Forest department or any reliable source.

The government has further directed the power distributors to ensure reconnection of the power supply after ascertaining the safe exit of wildlife from the said areas.

Earlier on Wednesday, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take urgent measures to stop elephant deaths in Odisha.

Expressing her ‘grief and horror’ at the elephant deaths in Odisha, the union minister had pointed out that 124 or a whopping 28 per cent casualties have taken place due to accidents and electrocution and had blamed mismanagement and lack of coordination between government agencies as the reason behind it.

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

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has already imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on CESU in connection with the death of seven elephants in Dhenkanal last month.