Crime Branch to probe elephants’ deaths

first_imgChief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday ordered a Crime Branch probe into the electrocution of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district. Expressing concerns over the incident, Mr. Patnaik directed that appropriate action be taken in case of any criminal negligence.Subsequently, a team of the Crime Branch visited Kamalanga village in Dhenkanal where seven elephants had died after coming in contact with sagging live 11 kV electric wire on Saturday.“We have already constituted a probe team under the leadership of CID Superintendent of Police Madhkar Sandeep Sampat. He would personally supervise the case. The probe would detect lapses that led to such a tragic incident,” said Santosh Kumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General (Crime Branch).Meanwhile, the State Forest and Environment department on Sunday filed a complaint against five executives of CESU, the power distribution company, at the Kantabania police station under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Naresh Patnaik, the CESU’s circle manager of Dhenkanal, Nihar Panigrahi, executive engineer, and Artatran Nayak, assistant engineer, have been named in the complaint.CESU blamed State’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy had squarely blamed the CESU for the death of the elephants.“Due to non-rectification of sagging electric lines and non-cabling of transmission lines, the accident has occurred, claiming the lives of seven elephants in Meramundali section of the Dhenkanal forest division,” he said.The Divisional Forest Officer of Dhenkanal in November last year had written to the executive engineer of CESU to rectify sagging overhead transmission line of 11 kV from Kamalanga to Kalitalia of Meramundali section. But it was not rectified. As a result, the live wire were found sagging at a height of seven to eight feet.According to Ranjit Patnaik, a wildlife researcher, Indian Electricity Rules, 1955, mandates testing of all apparatus, cables and supply lines periodically. The same was decided at a number of coordination meetings between forest and energy departments. However, RTI information about inspection of power lines for the period from April 1, 2011 to December 15, 2016 (nearly six years) revealed no inspections, said Mr. Patnaik.last_img