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Three wild elephants including a calf were killed after they were hit by a speeding railway engine at Nagaon district in central Assam in the wee hours of Saturday, with the total number of elephant deaths on railway tracks rising to seven in the current month. The three elephants were hit by an up light engine that had left Kampur railway station at around 4:50 AM on Saturday. The incident occurred between Kampur and Jamunamukh railway stations, about 125 km east of Guwahati on the Guwahati-Tinsukia main line.
It was only on December 5 that three elephants – two pregnant females – were killed when the 15905 Up Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek Express had knocked them down near Jugijan, in Hojai district, about 15 km west of Saturday’s incident. On December 6, another elephant was killed after being hit by a goods train between Rangjuli and Amjonga stations, about 90 kms west of Guwahati. With two killed near Khatkhati railway station in Karbi Anglong district on September 27, the total number of elephants killed on railway tracks in Assam in 2016 so far stands at nine.
A forest official said the three elephants were members of a herd of 40 to 50 elephants which had come down from the Kandali hills under Daboka reserved forest in search of food. The three were hit when the herd was crossing the railway track on their way back to the forest before sunrise, he said.
Meanwhile, Northeast Frontier Railway CPRO Pranav Jyoti Sharma said the mishap occurred despite imposition of speed restrictions at various elephant-crossing spots as advised by the forest department.
“The spot (where the mishap occurred) is not within the vulnerable area as marked by the forest department. It is about 13 km from the area where caution had been advised by the forest department,” Sharma said.