Jumbo deaths: NGT seeks affidavits in four weeks (Jalpaiguri)
Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, Times of India
December 2, 2023
Taking a suo motu cognisance of a TOI report on the mowing down of three
elephants by a goods train at Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar on November
27, the eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) added the
North West Frontier Railways GM, the Buxa Tiger Reserve field director,
Bengal’s chief wildlife warden and the state environment department as well
as the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change as
respondents in the case.
All the respondents have been asked to file affidavits within four weeks.
“This Original Application is being taken up in view of the newspaper
report published in the national daily, The Times of India, dated
28.11.2023. The article mentions that 3 elephants were mowed down by the
goods train in Buxa Tiger Reserve near Rajabhatkhawa Shikari Gate in
Alipurduar,” the bench of judicial member B Amit Sthalekar and expert
member Arun Kumar Verma observed.
The incident took place when a herd was crossing the track between
Rajabhatkhawa and Kalchini.
“The article mentions that female elephants were flung about 20 feet west
of the track. While one calf fell 15 feet to the eastern side, the other
calf was torn apart by the train,” the bench stated.
The TOI report had further quoted BTR field director Apurba Sen as stating
that “there was no doubt that the speed of the train was too high”. NF
Railway CPRO Sabyasachi De had also expressed surprise that the driver
overlooked the herd despite “perfect visibility”