Dhenkanal Elephant Deaths: NGT Probe Team Visits Kamalanga Village

Dhenkanal: In the wake of the electrocution of seven elephants inside the forest under the Sadar Forest Range in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district on October 26, a four-member team of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) from New Delhi arrived at the Kamalanga village on Tuesday for an on-the-spot investigation.

The team, accompanied by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, Sandip Tripathy, Dhenkanal DFO and senior officials of the state Energy department, arrived in the forest area, on the outskirts of the village, where the mishap had taken place.

The team will later submit a report to the NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

Notably, the green panel had filed a case suo motu against the Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) over the incident following media reports and slapped a penalty of Rs 1 crore on it.

The railway authorities had assigned a company for the construction of a railway over-bridge in the area for which CESU had provided power from a temporary feeder by pulling the transmission line at a height of eight feet above the ground in gross violation of the Government of India guidelines which state that the 11 KV high-tension transmission line must be pulled at a height of 17-18 feet above the ground.

Following the incident, the Forest and Environment Department had suspended three staff members while the Energy Department had suspended three CESU staff members and dismissed a junior engineer from the service for gross dereliction of duty.

A day after the incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had directed the Crime Branch to probe the incident.

The state investigating agency, in course of its investigation, had arrested the Junior Engineer, Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU), Sanjay Mohanty, who has been dismissed from service, forester of Meramandali section Pravakar Rana and forest guard of Meramandali forest beat house Girish Dehuri on November 3.

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