Hanging up live wire kills 7 jumbo's in Odisha
BHUBANESWAR: At least seven elephants were electrocuted after
coming in contact with a live wire hanging dangerously low near
Kamalanga village in Odisha’s Dhenkanal forest division.
Forest officials said a herd of 13 jumbos was passing through the village in Sadar Forest Range when seven of them got electrocuted by an 11kv line. The seven included five female elephants, a tusker and a calf. Their carcasses were found lying in a ditch early on Saturday.
Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Sandip Tripathy issued a release alleging that power distribution company Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu), an autonomous body under the state energy department, had not rectified sagging electric lines despite several pleas.
“The divisional forest officers (DFO) had provided a list of electric lines passing through vulnerable locations. The Dhenkanal DFO had also submitted that 136.57 km of such lines passing through vulnerable pockets need to be cabled,” Tripathy said, adding that the executive engineer of Cesu was intimated about the sagging electric wires at Kamalanga on November 22, 2017. While Odisha energy secretary Hemant Sharma conceded that they had received information about the movement of elephants in the area 10 days ago, Cesu authorities denied having received any such information.
Sharma said Cesu had put up temporary electric lines to supply power to a construction company building a railway over bridge, adding that “an investigation will be carried out to know what led to the electrocution.”
Cesu executive engineer Nalinikanta Panigrahi, however, denied any knowledge of the uninsulated wires. “Whenever elephants pass through any area that has overhead cables, we immediately snap power supply to the particular line on being alerted by the forest department. No such information was given to us about the sagging lines at Kamalanga,” he said.
Even as they refuted the allegations, the power distribution company has suspended two of its officers and terminated the services of a junior engineer. Forest department, too, has suspended three personnel, including range officer and forest guard, for dereliction of duty. Of the 42 elephants that have died of electrocution due to sagging electric wires in Odisha since April 2010, at least 18 were killed in the Dhenkanal division.