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India
28 Oct 2018

Odisha: CM orders inquiry, action against offcials for elephants' electrocution

Inquiry ordered into jumbo deaths in Odisha

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Sunday ordered an inquiry by the crime branch into the electrocution of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district.

One official was dismissed and six others were suspended by their departments in connection with the incident.

Seven jumbos, including a tusker and five females, were electrocuted as they came in contact with an 11-KV power line near Kamalanga under Sadar forest range.

In context

Inquiry ordered into jumbo deaths in Odisha

Inquiry, action

CM ordered appropriate action in case of criminal negligence

"Besides ordering a crime branch inquiry into the incident, the Chief Minister has ordered appropriate action in case of any criminal negligence," an official in Chief Minister's Office said.

The death of the elephants has drawn sharp criticism from the opposition parties in the state with both the Congress and the BJP accusing the state government of "utter negligence".

Criticism

BJP leaders slam Patnaik-led Odisha govt

BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan slammed the state government for the incident and claimed earlier too several animals were killed due to lack of coordination between the Forest Department and Central Electricity Supply Utility under the Energy Department.

Senior BJP leader and former MP Rudra Narayan Pani hit out at Odisha government and sought the resignation of both Forest and Energy Ministers.

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Blame-game

Forest and Environment Minister blames power authorities

Blaming the power authorities for the tragedy, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray had on Saturday said the CESU had been warned about the matter long ago, but no corrective step was taken.

Non-rectification of sagging lines and non-cabling of transmission lines have led to the tragedy, Routray and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathi said.

The probe

Three-member team was probing the incident: Energy Secretary

PCCF Tripathi said the mishap took place as the Energy Department failed to take a step to raise the height of the high-tension wire, which was hanging much below the height stipulated by guidelines of the Union Government.

Energy Secretary Hemant Kumar Sharma said a three-member team was probing the incident and on the basis of their report, appropriate action would be taken.

Details

200 places in Dhenakanal where high-voltage wires are sagging: Expert

The line acted as a temporary feeder for a railway construction site where the incident took place, Sharma said, adding meetings between the Forest and Energy Departments were being held on a regular basis to ensure proper coordination.

Environmentalist and wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty said there were 200 places in Dhenakanal where high-voltage electric wires were sagging at a low height and left unattended.

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