By Shib Shankar Chatterjee & Sushanta Roy
One adult female wild elephant and her baby cub were run over by the speeding Brahmaputra Mail (Train) between Langsoliate and Nilalung railway station at about 11:00 pm on the night of the 31st of July, 2011.
After the incident, senior railway officials of Lumding of eastern Indian State, Assam’s Nagaon district rushed to the spot, while Forest Range Officer, of Borlangfar and local Indian Assam State Police Force (IASPF) department was also contacted, rail track was totally stuck as the Caracas of the two dead covered the railway-track, all the trains of Northeast Indian State, Assam’s Upper-Assam sector had to be rescheduled. However, the most interesting fact is that the incident place is just near about 14-kilometres to 15-kilometres from the district headquarter town Diphu of another Assam State’s Karbi Anglong district. Both the elephants died instantly.
According to information Indian Assam State Forest (IASF) Department revealed that the aforesaid railway-line connecting Upper Assam and others 06-numbers of eastern Indian States (Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura) and the International Borders with China and Mayanmar (that is, Burma) region almost through this particular region, which practically cuts through numbers of Reserve Forest, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuary, situated within the geographical limit of this green gold rich district of Assam. Among them, Dhansiri Reserve Forest, Borlangfar Reserve Forest of Karbi Anglong district is known for its elephant population and corridor. So far more than 25-numbers of jumbo have meet tragic death in this section of railway-track, but unfortunately, neither the IASF nor the Indian Railway Department have tried to combat the situation of elephant mortality, except maneuvering on bureaucratic rules and regulation.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India clearly mentioned that there is a provision or norms that the trains cannot run not more than 20-kilometres per hour at night (whether goods, passenger, mail, express, super fast, special, rajdhani, etcetera) through this region’s deep jungles areas, which are detected also as elephant corridor. It is fact that India is home to an estimated 25,000 wild Asiatic jumbos but their numbers are fast depleting due to poaching, loss of habitat and also train accidents, particularly in eastern and northeastern regions.
One of the worst cases of the aforesaid reason could be pointed out here that around 07-numbers of wild elephant were killed and one seriously injured in the night, when a speeding train hit the animals, while the elephants were crossing railway tracks near Binnaguri in Jalpaiguri district of Northeast Indian State, West Bengal, on 22nd September, 2010 (see Thread Barrier and World’s Hottest Chilli to Keep Asian Elephants At Bay ).