Sabyasachi Patra

Elephant deaths by train accidents showing a declining trend

Elephant deaths by train accidents showing a declining trend

Every year many elephants are mowed down by trains in different parts of the country. In in an order dated 2.9.2014 in Writ Petition W.P. (C) No. 107 of 2013 Shakti Prasad Nayak Vs. Union of India & Ors. the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had issued the following directions:

  1. Necessary steps should be taken by the Railways all over the country to reduce the speed limit of running trains that are passing through dense forests. In case a speed limit is not followed/ appropriate action should be taken against the erring drivers and officials concerned.
  2. Railways to take steps to discontinue the movement of goods trains at night between Siliguri and Alipurduar.
  3. Divert fast moving and night trains through Siliguri -Falakata route.

However, the killing of elephants hasn’t stopped. Recently the railways is taking belated attempts at sensitizing the train drivers to reduce speeds. On 6th March, the Minister of State for MoEF Shri Babul Supriyo said that railways has taken the following nine steps in coordination with MoEF.

  1. Imposition of permanent and temporary speed restrictions in identified elephant corridors.
  2. Provision of signage board to warn loco pilots about identified elephant corridors.
  3. Sensitization of train crew and Station Masters on a regular basis.
  4. Need based clearance of vegetation on the sides of track within railway land.
  5. Construction of underpasses and ramps for movement of elephants at identified locations.  Work is in progress at one more location in East Central Railway.
  6. Installation of Honey Bee sound system to scare away the elephants from coming near the track.
  7. Provision of fencing at isolated locations both by Railway and Forest Department.
  8. Deputing Forest Department staff in Railway control offices to liaison with Railway and engagement of elephant trackers by Forest Department for timely action by alerting Station Masters and Loco Pilots.
  9. Frequent coordination meetings between State Forest Department and Railway department.

As per the information received from States, the number of elephants killed in train accident has been showing a declining trend. The State-wise and year-wise details of elephant deaths due to train hits is as follows:



A woman lays flowers on the dead elephant killed by a train

A woman lays flowers on the dead elephant killed by a train

Elephant Casualties in Train Accidents from 2016-17 to 2018-19

S.No. State 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
1 Assam 10 10 2
2 West Bengal 3 2 6
3 Tamil Nadu 2 0 0
4 Jharkhand 2 0 0
5 Kerala 2 0 1
6 Odisha 0 2 7
7 Tripura 0 0 NR
8 Uttarakhand 2 5 1
9 Uttar Pradesh 0 0 0
10 Karnataka 0 1 2
Total 21 20 19
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Sabyasachi Patra
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