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'Reduce train speed in forests to prevent elephant casualties'

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Reduce train speed in forests to prevent elephant casualties
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Railways to take steps to reduce speed of trains while travelling through forests inhabited by elephants to prevent death of tuskers on rail tracks.

A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri also proposes to change rail routes passing through forests and directed that a senior Railway official be present in the court to assist it in dealing with the issue.

It also asked the state governments of Odisha, Assam, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to file response on the PIL seeking the court's intervention to prevent death of elephant on rail tracks.

The PIL was filed by one SP Nayak and his counsel advocate Sanjeeb Panigrahi pleaded that every year around 80 elephants were killed on rail tracks passing through the forest.

Panigrahi submitted that the Railways has not taken precautions like clearing vegetation near the tracks or engaging elephant trackers to prevent train-elephant collisions.

"Elephant deaths in rail accidents have been reported from all elephant range states in the country with more than 110 train-hit deaths recorded since 1987. Nearly 90% of these deaths in the past two decades were recorded in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand," the petition said.

PTI

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