Guwahati: Assam forest officials seized railway locomotive for mowing down a female elephant and her calf in September.
The elephants was killed by a speeding goods train inside Lumding Reserve Forest, through which the track pass, in Hojai district of Assam on the intervening night of September 26 and September 27.
The incident took place near Pathorkhola railway station, when the elephants were trying to cross the railway tracks.
Assam chief wildlife warden Mahendra Kumar Yadav said, “The killing of a female elephant and her calf by a goods train engine in Lumding RF on September 27 has been vigorously pursued under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 against the railway authorities. The department instituted an inquiry under the act. Accordingly, a team of forest officials proceeded to Bamunimaidan Loco Shed on October 20 and seized the diesel loco engine (No. 12440). Earlier, the loco pilot and his assistant were suspended by the railways after an internal inquiry.”
“The Indian wild elephant (Elephant maximus) is a Schedule-I animal under the entry 12-B of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Therefore, a forest offense has been listed against railway officers and employees of the railway authority under Section 9 of the said act and punishable under Sec 51 of the act, for onward necessary action,” he further added.
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 crore for any loss and damage of the seized property.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklabaidya said that the Department shall not fail to take toughest stand against the Railways. The killing of elephants on the railway tracks must stop forthwith.