The Orissa High Court on Monday issued directions to power distribution companies (Discoms) to initiate corrective measures to arrest the electrocution of wild elephants in the State.
Taking strong exception to the recurring death of elephants due to contact with sagging live wires, a division bench also issued notices to five Discoms in the State while asking them to comply with the action taken report to prevent electrocution.
Four elephants have been electrocuted by low-slung overhead electric cables in the State in less than two months including the electrocution of a tusker yesterday in Dhenkanal district.
In an attempt to prevent electrocution of elephants, the bare conductors in elephant movement areas covering 2,354 kilometres have already been insulated while in another 4,444 kilometres, bare conductors and 31,000 electrical points have been identified, the State Forest Department had earlier informed the Orissa High Court.
Elephant deaths keep occurring at regular intervals as power distribution infrastructures inside forest are not maintained in time. The pachyderms also perish as farmers in villages, hit by elephant depredation, illegally draw power from these overhead cables to create live wire fences around their crop fields. The poachers linked to the ivory smuggling gang also lay live wire traps to kill the male elephants, said conservationists.
Majority of elephant electrocution is preventable. Unless the Discoms officials are held accountable and are taken to task for negligence in duty, the elephants will continue to perish due to electrocution, they added.