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Train kills elephant

Carcass of the elephant that was run over by a train in Keonjhar. Telegraph picture

Keonjhar, March 21: A female elephant was killed after being hit by a speeding goods train at Balipokhari near Nilakantheswar railway station in the district early this morning.

This is the second such incident in the state after five elephants were mowed down by a train in Ganjam district last December.

The incident took place around 4.10am at Ghatgaon forest range. The goods train was on its way to Dhamra port in Bhadrak from Joda in Keonjhar district.

The 30-year-old female elephant was part of a seven-member herd that was trying to cross the railway tracks near Nilkantheswar station.

“She was the last member of the herd, which was crossing the tracks near Nilakantheswar railway station when the goods train hit her around 4.10am on Thursday. After hitting the elephant, the train dragged it along for around 250 metres and it died on the spot,” Keonjhar divisional forest office Ajay Kumar Jena said.

The remaining elephants of the herd fled into the nearby forests, he said. Jena also said that the forest department was keeping a watch on the movement of other members of the herd.

“The spot where the incident occurred does not come under the elephant pass area. Still, we are in the touch with the railway authorities to avoid such mishaps in the future,” the forest officer said.

Two veterinary assistant surgeons from Pandapada and Harichandanpur conducted a post-mortem on the carcass, which was buried after the procedure.

Train traffic on the route was disrupted for a long time following the mishap.

The population of elephants has been on the decline in the state.

According to official records, around 70 elephants have died in the state over the past few months, including some in train accidents.

Before the Ganjam incident in which five elephants were killed on the tracks, two had died after being hit by a speeding goods train near Champua in the mineral-rich Keonjhar district on August 15 last year.