Electrocution Leading Cause Of Jumbo Deaths In State

Bhubaneswar: Odisha was once known for the elephants who thrived here and was, for that reason, often raided by kings and Mughals for the magnificient war pachyderms. However, with time, the state of ‘Gaja’ has slowly been turning into a graveyard for them. Relentless conflict with humans and a host of unnatural reasons like poaching, road and train accidents, falling into open wells and electrocution are among the leading causes.

In a press conference held by the Wildlife Society of Orissa, on Friday, it was revealed that Angul distrcit has emerged as a hotspot for elephant deaths due to electrocution. Data shows that in the last 10 days, around five elephants died of which two were killed.

Since 2000, as many as 167 elephants lost their lives due to electrocution. From 2000 to 2010, as many as 77 deaths were reported mostly due to sagging power lines.

The Wildlife Society of Odisha expressed disappointment that the government had not taken any preventive measures. “From January 2010 to this date, the state has lost 90 elephants to electrocution. On an average, 11 elephants die in a year due to electrocution. The three most observed methods of electrocution include live wire poaching traps, sagging overhead lines and electrified fences,” said secretary of WSO, Biswajit Mohanty.

This, he added, is due to the non-adherence to the CEA norms and Indian Electricity Rules 1956, by the Distcoms. Rule 77, which provides minimum ground clearance for conductor at various places across and along the trees and other places at minimum of 4.6 meters is being violated.

“There is a need to set up reinforced electric poles fitted with spikes to prevent elephants rubbing against them and getting the sagged overhead power lines lifted. These overhead wires need to be insulated while defunct solar powered fences must be removed. We demand a continuous monitoring by the Forest Minister to protect elephants on a monthly basis and fixing field responsibilities for the same,” Mohanty further said.

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