Punish officials for tusker electrocutions: NGO

November 24th, 2011 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 24 (IANS) Protesting over the frequent electrocution of elephants in Odisha, a wildlife group Thursday demanded action against those responsible for such incidents.

Biswajit Mohanty, secretary, Wildlife Society of Orissa, said two elephants were electrocuted in Bargarh district last week. “Every month, at least four-five elephants are being electrocuted in the state due to low overhead power lines,” Mohanty told IANS.

He said his NGO conducted a survey on low overhead power lines in Dhenkanal district, which has a large number of tuskers, and found that the electricity wires had sagged at 147 locations.

“The complete list of the locations along with the global positioning system (GPS) points were handed over to the authorities two months ago, but nothing has been done to pull up these dangerous low overhead wires,” he said.

A wildlife department official said several officials of power distribution companies were booked in the past for the low wires leading to tusker deaths.

Mohanty alleged the action was taken mostly against junior level officials.

The elephant electrocution incidents could have been prevented if the power distribution systems had safety devices like earth leakage circuit breakers and safety fuses, he said.

These devices would have disconnected the power supply when elephants accidentally touched them, he said.

According to official statistics, 107 tuskers were electrocuted in the state during past 10 years. While Keonjhar district accounted for 27 elephant deaths, Sambalpur district accounted for 12 deaths during this period, he said.

The state’s elephant population according to official census has dropped from 2,044 in 1979 to 1,886 in 2010.

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