Jairam Ramesh expresses concern over death of elephants in train tracks

New Delhi, Sep 24 (ANI): Expressing deep concern at the tragic killing of seven elephants in West Bengal, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has said his Ministry will have further discussions with the Railway Ministry to protect key elephant corridors.

"I have just seen the news of the most tragic killing of seven elephants on train tracks in north Bengal on the night of September 22. This is not the first time such a mishap has taken place, although the scale with which it has taken place now is unprecedented, particularly in the North-East Frontier Railway," said Jairam Ramesh in a statement issued from New York.

"I have written a number of letters to the Minister of Railway and have personally held a number of meetings with officials of the Railway Board. We have discussed measures to be taken in order to avoid such tragedies. I have been reassured on more than one occasion that these measures will be put in place," he added.

Ramesh further said the tragedy is all the more poignant coming in the wake of the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to declare the elephant as our national heritage animal, to take steps to establish a 'National Elephant Conservation Authority' and to implement the recommendations of the 'Elephant Task Force' to protect designated key elephant corridors.

"I will once again meet with officials of the Railway Board when I return to India on September 26. Meanwhile, I wish to convey my very deep sense of anguish at this latest incident," he added.

Seven elephants of a herd died after being hit by a goods train in the Banarhat area of Jalpaiguri district on Wednesday night.

While four were killed on the spot, the rest died on Thursday. (ANI)

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