Keonjhar, Nov 23 (LocalWire): The Keonjhar forest department on Thursday arrested assistant loco pilot Rohit Kumar Marandi and later released him on bail in the elephant death case. Another loco pilot is still absconding.
Keonjhar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Santosh Joshi said: “We have informed the railway department earlier to take precaution as a herd of elephant will pass through the place where the accident took place on Wednesday night.”
“The railway department had issued notice to the loco pilot to take precaution. The railway department is inquiring whether the driver followed the instruction or not,” he said.
“We have arrested the assistant loco pilot, who was later released on bail. Further investigation will continue after the post-mortem examination of the elephant,” the DFO added.
According to locals, the female elephant had already crossed the track. But she returned to the track to save her calf who was left behind. The calf safely crossed the track and went into the forest with the rest of the herd while the female jumbo was hit by the speeding train.
Forest official sources said that they are monitoring the movement of elephant herds with GPS systems and accordingly informing elephant squads to take steps to alert the villagers as well as to the electric and railway department to avoid accidents.
According to the sources, as many as 41 elephant died in Keonjhar forest division in the past ten years, among which, 22 suffered unnatural death, including rail and electricity accidents and anthrax diseases. Six died in train accidents.