A goods train in Dooars mowed down seven elephants on Wednesday night in Dooars, about 500 km north of Kolkata. West Bengal forest department officials have filed an FIR against the railways on Thursday.
Seven elephants including three female and one tusker were crossing a railway line at Moraghat-Reti elephants’ corridor near Banarhat Railway station in Jalpaiguri district when a goods train running at 70 km per hour hit them. One of the elephants was dragged for more than 400 meters before the train stopped.
Killing of wild animals including elephants since 2004 has increased. “Over the past two years, 25 elephants have been killed by trains,” said state forest minister Ananta Ray.
However, NGOs and wild life activists put the figure more than 30.
There has been sudden spurt in accidents after the line was converted fom narrow to broad gauge in 2004. During 2010, 10 elephants were killed by trains most of them during night.
“On Wednesday night we came to know five elephants had died. But today the toll rose to seven,” said Roy on Thursday.
Roy said railways officials were requested to limit the speed of goods trains to 25 km per hour, but obviously they violated the limit.
Silvent Patil, the chief conservator of forest (wild life) told HT, “The seven elephants were killed due to sheer negligence on the part of railways.”