Two babies have died while 37 other premature infants were at real risk, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel warned in a statement on Saturday, citing doctors at the hospital.
A pregnant elephant was mowed down by a goods train running between Chalsa and Nagrakata section in the Dooars under the Alipurduar division around 2.40 am on Thursday.
On receiving information, forest officials from the Dooars area rushed to the spot and found that both the pregnant elephant and her baby died on the spot after the accident. The officials recovered the carcasses of both mother and calf for postmortem.
In a separate incident in a different location another elephant collided with a freight train near the Digaru Panbari area under the Lumding division under Northeast Frontier Railway around 7.10 am.
Animal lovers and tourism activists were saddened by the news.
Vice-President of Sabuj Mancha Animesh Bose said: “Railway officials should inspect the speed limit of the goods train run by electricity. Since the number of wild animal deaths is on the rise, elevated tracks should be built.”
Chief Public Relations Officer, NFR, Sabyasachi De said: Railways have taken a serious note of the incidents and have alerted all elephant corridors within the NFR area. However, these two sections were beyond the notified elephant corridors.”
De also said: “These sections were also not covered by the Intrusion Detection system. However, due to the success of this system, the Ministry of Railways has sanctioned Rs 77 crore for covering most of the elephant corridors within the jurisdiction of NFR.”
It may be noted that Henry Smith, Member of Parliament, Crawley Constituency, on 5 July 2023 wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to save Asian elephants, which have lost 80 per cent of their habitat due to encroachment for cultivation and other purposes.