A female wild elephant and her calf died after being hit by the Rajdhani Express when they were crossing the railway track near Kharikatia railway station at Mariani in upper Assam’s Jorhat district at around 10.50pm on Sunday. A forest official said that the elephants were dragged almost fifty metres on the tracks after being hit by the train. The mother elephant was around twenty to twenty-one years old, whereas her calf was between nine and twelve months.
“Around 8pm, the loco pilots of trains plying on the particular route were given prior information on a dedicated WhatsApp group that elephant movement was spotted. But this was not taken into account as the mentioned train did not reduce its speed. Since no wildlife doctors were available one veterinary doctor had to be arranged from Jorhat but the jumbos could not be saved as they were critically injured,” a forest official said.
He further mentioned that the DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) had recently written to the railway authorities to keep the speed of the trains at a prescribed limit in that particular stretch as that area was an elephant corridor but the railways, according to the forest official, replied they would incur revenue losses in crores if they slow down the trains on the route.