Two elephants killed at Lumding Reserve forest by train Credit: EastMojo image file

Guwahati: One Railway engine (loco engine number- 12440 WDG4) has been seized from the possession of senior DME/diesel/New Guwahati, Chandra Mohan Tiwari at Bamunimaidan Railway Yard, Diesel loco shed here for killing two elephants on Tuesday.

The elephants were killed between Patharkhula and Lamsakhang Railway Station on September 27, 2020 midnight.

The seizure operation was conducted under the supervision of Nalini Kumar Kalita, forester-1 of Lumding Forest Range, Lumding under Nagaon South Division, Hojai on October 20, 2020, at about 1.25 pm.

Speaking on the seizure of engine, Mahendra Kumar Yadava, chief wildlife warden of Assam has said that it is probably the first such instance in the country, when a railway locomotive has been seized in connection with death on train tracks.

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He further said that the several decisions have already been taken to run trains at 30km/pm through the elephant corridor in Lumding Elephant Reserve. However the train which hit the elephants had surpassed the speed limit and the elephant calf was dragged to about one kilometer from the hit point. The seized locomotive will be used as evidence in the case

Upon the incident, Assam environment and forests minister Parimal Suklabaidya has said that the department would not hesitate to take a tough stand against the Railways and that elephant killing must stop forthwith.

The seized loco engine was later given back into the custody of senior DME/Diesel/New Guwahati, Chandra Mohan Tiwari in view of the continuity of essential services to the public and others. In a ‘Zimmanama’ Tiwari also agreed to pay Rs 12 cr for any loss and damage of the seized property.

Following the investigation, Mahendra Kumar Yadava, IFS, Chief Wildlife Warden of Assam said that the sad incident of killing of one female elephant and her calf by a goods train engine in Lumding RF on the September 27, 2020 has been very vigorously pursed under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 against the Railway authorities, and the department instituted an inquiry under the Act.

Accordingly, a team of forest officials proceeded to Bamunimaidan Loco Shed and seized the diesel loco engine. Earlier, the loco pilot and the assistant loco pilot have been suspended by the Railways.

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