Jumbo tragedy: Is the Railways at fault?

Bhubaneswar: While a blame game has ensued between the forest and railway officials following the tragic death of four elephants and two calves on Saturday night near Rambha in Ganjam district, it seems the Railways is at fault for the nerve shattering incident that left many pachyderm lovers shocked.

According to an official letter from Forest range officer, Khalikote range dated 18th December 2012, memo no: 1278, (a copy of which OTV has) movement of an elephant herd was intimated to the Divisional Railway Manager, Khurda Road. It was stated in the letter that a group of elephants was camping near Dumunagiri and Jhinkaria forest area near village Arunapur, Raghunathpur, Kantapada, Subulaya and Balibagada since last 20 days on east side of the rail track.

Notably, the accident occurred at Subulaya area mentioned above by the forest officials.

“There is possibility of their (elephant) movement towards the NH-5 and then towards your railway line during mostly night times on any date from today onwards,” the letter read.

“Please alert your concern staff and train drivers with necessary instructions to the control room for passing of trains from railway post 557/21-22 to 568/78 with slow speed and due precautions from Rambha station to Humma railway station,” it further said.

The Chennai bound Howrah-Chennai Coromandel super fast express which was moving at a speed of 110-120km/hr hit the elephant herd after it crossed the Rambha station at 1am.

The letter concluded, “An early action is requested for protection of the elephants.”

However, despite several attempts no reaction could be obtained from the Railway officials.