Meet on elephant mishaps

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By JAYANTA BASU in Calcutta
  • Published 4.11.06

Calcutta, Nov. 4: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said railway officials and the forest department will shortly meet to discuss ways to minimise accidents involving elephants on railway tracks in north Bengal.

“We have received a letter from the railways on the proposed meeting,” Bhattacharjee said at an international workshop on elephant conservation organised by an NGO, Nature Environment & Wildlife Society. Experts from across the country and neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan attended the seminar.

A string of mishaps on a single day in May which killed three elephants on tracks near the Gorumara national park had prompted Bhattacharjee to write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bhattacharjee said the accidents took place because gauge conversion had led to an increase in the speed limit of trains.

Alipurduar divisional railway manager Arjun Rakhit said: “We strictly adhere to (speed) restriction in designated stretches. The accidents took place beyond them.”