Dhenkanal elephant death: PCCF blames CESU for negligence

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Dhenkanal: With the death of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district last night in electrocution, the wildlife and electricity authorities in Odisha blamed each other for not adhering to statutory norms, leading to the frequent death of pachyderms in the state.

In a press release, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) on Saturday stated that the Dhenkanal DFO had written to the Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) last year urging him to rectify the sagging 11 KV lines in the region, but no action was taken in this regard.

Subsequently, the Dhenkanal DFO had submitted a stretch of 136.57 km of LT lines passing through vulnerable areas for cabling.

In the coordination meeting held on September 24 with the Energy Department, the CESU officials informed that the cabling of the transmission line is yet to be taken up in Dhenkanal Division.

The PCCF in the press release also mentioned that “due to non-rectification of sagging lines and non-cabling of the transmission line, the accident occurred.”

Besides, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said that CESU was warned much earlier and the locals had also informed the local CESU office about the low hanging wire, but no actions were taken in this regard.

Responding to allegations of negligence by CESU, Energy department secretary Hemant Kumar Sharma said that the KV lines provided to railways in the region were a temporary electrical connection.

Sharma said, “A three-member team of the Energy department has been formed to investigate the incident and appropriate action will be taken after the probe.”

It should be mentioned here that, seven elephants were electrocuted to death after coming in contact with a live electric wire at Kamalanga village under Sadar Forest Range in Dhenkanal district last night. The carcasses of the pachyderms were found on Saturday morning.

Seven elephants of the 13-elephant herd died on the spot after coming in contact with the low-hanging live 11KV wire that was laid by the railway department temporarily for track construction work.

 

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