Two elephants killed within a matter of few hours in train collissions

Two elephants killed within a matter of few hours in train collissions

Written by Staff Writer

21 Oct, 2018 | 9:22 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Two incidents of trains colliding with wild elephants were reported last night (October 20) and this morning (October 21). The incidents claimed the lives of two elephants and injured another.

One accident occurred at around 11.45 last night between the Ambanpola and Galgamuwa railway station when two female elephants were hit by a train that was travelling to Kankesanthurai. They were hit when they were trying to enter the village from a teak forest reserve in the area.

One of the elephants succumbed to its injuries last night (October 20). The other female elephant that was injured was treated today by the wildlife officers.

Meanwhile, another wild elephant died after being hit by a train carrying fuel from Colombo to Batticaloa. The accident took place near the 32-kilometre post in the Thalpath Kanda area in Habarana.

Chairman of the Engine Drivers’ Association, Lal Paranawithana said that nothing can be seen in the dark and that even if the brakes are hit, when the elephants are spotted,  that the train won’t abruptly come to a halt. He added that one solution would be to buld a tower in the area to spot the elephants and inform the train drivers beforehand.

Meanwhile, the report compiled by the committee appointed by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva to reduce accidents of this nature has a number of recommendations to curtail the issue.

Dr. Iresh Perera, Engineer of the committee said that 17 possible ways on how elephants collide with trains were identified and that the report will be submitted to the Minister on the 25th of this month. The railway control room said the train which was derailed due to this accident had been moved and operations along the upcountry railway line have been restored.

It should also be noted that three other elephants were killed along the same railway line on the 6th of this month, after colliding with the Meenagayaa train.

Elephants are a priceless resource given to us by mother nature and in a way, elephants contribute for the inflow of foreign currency as many tourists visit Sri Lanka with the intent of sighting these majestic creatures. A cabinet minister and a deputy minister were appointed to look into issues related to elephants and their maintenance is covered by public funds.

Apart from the above-mentioned minister and deputy minister, it is also the responsibility of the cabinet Minister and state minister in charge of transport to put in line sustainable and long-lasting solutions to prevent such incidents from occurring. Elephants colliding with trains is not an uncontrollable situation, unlike human suicide.

Yet another surprising factor is that those train engine drivers, calling on immediate strikes for their salaries to be increased turn a blind eye to this tragedy.

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